Many people think that if they don’t buy insurance before the end of January they can’t get insurance for that year. This is mostly true, however there is what is called “a qualifying event” that can open a small window of time for you to enroll. Here is some more information about special enrollment period.

Unless you qualify for Apple Health (www.hca.wa.gov) or a special enrollment period, the 2017 open enrollment period ends on Jan. 31, 2017.

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. Most special enrollment periods last 60 days from the date of the qualifying event (see below). 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.

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