For Consumers

What is health insurance?

"Because of all your terrific help, we have been reinstated with our insurance company and will be paying a fraction of the cost that we would be paying elsewhere."
~ M.M.
woman testimonial

It’s a contract between you and an insurance company. Health insurance helps pay your medical bills when you need care. Knowing what options are available can help save you time, money and frustration.

There are four ways you can get your health insurance:

1. The most common way people get their health insurance is through a group sponsor, such as:

  • Employer
  • Fraternal organization
  • Chamber of commerce
  • Professional organization

2. You can buy an individual health plan during open enrollment:

  • Directly from a insurance company or agent.
  • Through the Washington Healthplanfinder ( where you may qualify for subsidies to help pay your plan's premiums.

    The 2021 annual open enrollment period to buy an individual and family health plan is closed. If you missed open enrollment, you can buy a plan directly through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange during a special enrollment period that runs through Aug. 15, 2021. Open enrollment for 2022 occurs Nov. 1, 2021 through Dec. 15, 2021 for coverage to take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

3. You may qualify for Apple Health, also called Medicaid ( in our state.

4. You can apply for Medicare if you're age 65 or older, or under age 65 on Social Security Disability Income, or diagnosed with certain diseases.