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Other Health Insurance Options
When Ineligible For UW Insurance Coverage

This page describes the health insurance options that are available for people who are not eligible for one of the University's health insurance programs. UW employees and their dependents who are no longer eligible to participate in a UW medical plan should first consider exercising their right to insurance continuation through COBRA before exploring the options described on this page.

Private Health Insurance Options

Stay on Your Parent’s Insurance

Under the Affordable Care Act, if your parent's plan covers children, they may keep you on their health insurance policy until you turn 26 years old. Check the Certificate of Coverage for your parent’s health plan.

COBRA for Students

Students age 26 and older who are no longer eligible for coverage under a parent’s health insurance plan may be eligible for COBRA. There are other categories that may make individuals eligible for 18 to 36 months of COBRA. For example, special rules may allow extended coverage for an individual who is disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. For more information about COBRA, see the U.S. Department of Labor's FAQs.

COBRA for Employees and Dependents

Employees, spouses, and covered dependents are eligible for COBRA under these conditions:

COBRA law applies only to employers that have 20 or more employees, and coverage is identical to whatever current employees receive. You must pay the COBRA premium to obtain coverage. See the COBRA web pages.

Short-term Health Insurance

This type of non-renewable and relatively inexpensive plan provides coverage ranging from 30 days to six months. This can be useful if you are in a job transition, you do not have access to COBRA rights, or you are visiting the UW from another state or country. Use an internet search engine to learn more and shop wisely.

Professional Associations

Many professional and fraternal associations offer health insurance to their members. Association plans vary widely in the way that benefits are administered. Be sure to educate yourself about the provisions of coverage. Some association plans have a very limited and restricted payment schedule. You are responsible for all costs above the scheduled amount.

Public Health Insurance Options

Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the law that is commonly referred to as "health care reform" or "Obama Care." It became law in 2010 and brings major improvements to our health care system by increasing access to affordable health care for individuals, families, seniors, and businesses.

In Washington, everyone who still needs health insurance may use the web portal, Washington Healthplanfinder.

This is where, if you are a Washington citizen with low income, you can apply for Apple Health, a combination of two programs formerly known as Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Medicaid Premium Payment Program.

Or, if you don't qualify for Apple Health, you may still qualify for a subsidized health care plan.

Residents of Washington state should go through Washington or call the Customer Support Line at 855-923-4633.

Residents of other states should go through to find the health exchange for their state.

Other Resources

Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA)

SHIBA is a statewide network of volunteers trained by the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner to assist, educate and advocate for consumers about health insurance and health care access issues. The service is free.

Community Clinics offer health care on a sliding fee schedule. Contact a SHIBA HelpLine representative for a list of Community Clinics in your area at:

SHIBA HelpLine
(800) 397-4422
TDD: (360) 664-3154

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner

The Insurance Commissioner's Office has responsibility for regulating all insurance business in Washington under the authority granted by the insurance laws of this state. Learn more at

Common Insurance Terms