Buying an individual plan
Individual coverage is health insurance you buy directly from an insurance company for yourself or for family members.
Some individual health plans may not be available where you live. View our map of individual health plans and their rates by county.
What determines how much you'll pay in premiums
- Your age and the age of any family member on your plan
- Whether or not you smoke
- The size of your family (how many people you want to cover)
- Where you live
- The deductible amount
- The benefits in your health plan
If you need coverage before Jan. 1, 2014
- Most people will need to complete and pass the Standard Health Questionnaire (SHQ) - or health screen, although there are exceptions (see pages 2 and 3 of the SHQ (www.wship.org) (PDF, 164KB)).
- Until health reform is fully implemented on Jan. 1, 2014, insurance companies may deny you eligibility in an individual health plan due to a pre-existing condition if you have a combined score (www.wship.org) (PDF, 35KB) on the SHQ (www.wship.org) (PDF, 748KB) of 325 points or higher.
- If you fail the questionnaire, the health plan will refer you to the Washington State Health Insurance Pool (WSHIP) for coverage.
- Children under age 19 don't have to complete the SHQ and health insurers cannot deny coverage due to health issues. However, health insurers can create open enrollment periods for this age group.
New options coming Oct. 1, 2013
Under health reform, starting Oct. 1, 2013, you'll have a couple different options to buy an individual health plan, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2014:
- Washington Healthplanfinder (www.wahealthplanfinder.org) - A new online marketplace where you can compare apples-to-apples and get help paying your premium, depending on your income.
- Buy a plan directly from a health insurance company - Additional health plans will be available outside of the Washington Healthplanfinder, but if you buy directly from an insurance company, you won't get help paying your premium.
Starting Jan. 1, 2014, health insurers cannot:
- Ask you to complete a health questionnaire.
- Limit or deny you benefits if you have a medical issue.
Individual health plans must include a standard set of essential benefits, such as prescription drugs, maternity care, lab services, etc.