For Consumers

When can I buy an individual health plan?

 Important: The 2022 individual and family health plan open enrollment period occurs Nov. 1, 2021 through Jan. 15, 2022. For health coverage to start Jan. 1, 2022, you must buy a plan Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. For coverage to start Feb. 1, 2022, you must buy a plan from Dec. 16, 2021 through Jan. 15, 2022. If you miss the annual open enrollment period, you can still enroll if you qualify for Apple Health ( or a special enrollment period. 

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 some types of special enrollment events, special enrollment periods last 60 days from the date of the qualifying event (see below for examples). However, for the most common occurring special enrollment events, such as a loss of coverage, you may also 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.
  • You're recently divorced or legally separated and you lost your health insurance.
  • 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: