For Consumers

When can I buy an individual health plan?

Important information Important: Unless you qualify for Apple Health ( or a special enrollment period due to one of the qualifying events listed below, the 2018 open enrollment period is closed. The 2019 annual open enrollment period will occur Nov. 1, 2018 through Dec. 15, 2018 for coverage to take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

General special enrollment

If you have a qualifying event, you may get a special enrollment period (SEP) to buy an individual health plan. This means you can enroll in or change your health insurance plan outside the standard open enrollment period. For most special enrollment events, special enrollment periods last 60 days from the date of the qualifying event (see below for examples). However, for some special enrollment events, such as a loss of coverage, you may enroll 60 days in advance of the special enrollment event. If you don't qualify for a SEP, you'll need to wait until the next open enrollment period.

Note: You don't qualify for a SEP if you voluntarily cancel your health insurance or your insurer cancels you because you don't pay your premium.

Effective dates of coverage involve a complex set of rules depending on the type of special enrollment event and when you enroll. Please contact the exchange at 855-923-4633 regarding special enrollment dates and your circumstances. 

Individual health plans

Qualifying events for SEPs include, but aren't limited to:

  • Losing health coverage, including an employer plan or an individual policy
  • Losing Apple Health (Medicaid) because you no longer qualify
  • Giving birth to or adopting a child
  • Permanently moving to a new area where your current plan doesn't provide coverage
  • Employer not paying your COBRA premium on time
  • COBRA coverage period ending (usually 18 months) or reaching the lifetime limit
  • Your dependent turning age 26 and losing his or her coverage on your employer’s plan
  • Getting married or entering into a domestic partnership
  • Getting divorced or ending a domestic partnership
  • Canceling your Washington State Health Insurance Pool (WSHIP) coverage
  • Your health plan no longer being offered for sale in Washington state

Individual health plans only inside the Exchange

See if you qualify for SEP for a health plan through the Exchange (

Note: The Exchange and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have the authority to create additional qualifying events for special enrollment periods. Contact the Exchange ( for more information.

Where to buy a plan

If you buy a plan: