For Consumers

Continuation plans

Insurance companies selling small group health plans to employers must offer the employer the option to include a continuation provision in the plan policy. Continuation plans allow a person who becomes ineligible for coverage under the group health plan the right to continue the group health plan.

How continuation plans work

  • The insurance company and the employer decide how long enrollees are covered under the plan, and what the premiums will cost.
  • Group health plans must also allow enrollees to continue coverage - without showing proof of insurability - if they divorce the primary enrollee or the primary enrollee dies.
  • After the continuation plan ends, the enrollee can buy an individual health plan.

What you need to know before you buy a continuation plan

Losing your small group plan qualifies you for a special enrollment period outside the annual open enrollment period. You have 60 days from losing your plan to purchase a new plan. You can buy a plan through the Washington Healthplanfinder ( or through an agent or insurance company ( If you don't buy a plan during your special enrollment period, you'll have to wait until the next open enrollment period, which starts on Nov. 1.