Health insurance is available only during a short window each year, called open enrollment. This year, open enrollment for individual and family health plans starts Nov. 1, 2019 for coverage to take effect in 2020.
However, certain events qualify you for a special enrollment, including losing your existing health coverage.
If you lose coverage that was provided by an employer, you are eligible to buy a COBRA plan, as well.
COBRA is a federal law that allows you and any of your immediate family members to stay on your employer’s health plan if you lose your job or your employer coverage.
COBRA can be expensive. People who choose COBRA coverage must pay the entire premium, including the portion previously paid by the employer, plus a 2 percent administrative fee.
Before you decide to go with COBRA, find out if you can buy a health plan through Washington Healthplanfinder and receive a subsidy to help pay your insurance premiums. If you don’t qualify for any subsidies, you can also purchase coverage directly from an insurance company, broker or agent.
Other events that qualify you for a special enrollment include:
- Having or adopting a baby.
- Moving to a new area that’s not covered in your existing plan.
- Getting married or divorced.
- A change in eligibility for your existing health plan.
- Your health plan stops selling coverage in Washington state.