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How to Buy Insurance

Step 1 - Learn the Basics

You must have health coverage or pay a tax penalty.

  • Most individuals have to have health insurance coverage. If you don't, you will pay a tax penalty on your federal income tax return at the end of the year. How much? In 2015 it's 2% of your income or $325 per person. In 2016 and later years it's 2.5 percent of income or $695 per person.

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Step 2 - Find Out if You Can Get Help Paying for Insurance

If you're not offered affordable employer coverage, you may qualify a subsidy, or tax credit you can use toward the cost of your insurance premium.

Household size is the number of people living in your house.

Household income is the total income each of your family members makes in a year. If you make $40,000 and your spouse makes $20,000 in a household of 2, then your household income range is $60,000.

If you have affordable employee coverage, this does not apply to you.

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Household Size Household Income Range
1 $11,670 - $46,680
2 $15,730 - $62,920
3 $19,790 - $79,160
4 $23,850 - $95,400
5 $27,910 - $111,640
6 $31,970 - $127,880
7 $36,030 - $144,120
8 $40,090 - $160,360
Each additional person + $4,060 - $16,240

Step 3 - Get Ready to Shop

To shop for a premium-assistance plan, you will need:

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Individual Healthcare Checklist

Get a list of everything you need to get ready to buy.


Step 4 - Start Shopping

For 2015, you may begin enrolling Nov. 15. The marketplace will be open until Feb. 15, 2015. There are many four easy ways to get coverage.

  1. Online at
  2. Call 1-800-650-5731
  3. Come in to your local Blue Cross office. We have regional offices in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans and Shreveport.
  4. Contact an authorized Blue Cross agent.

Contact an authorized Blue Cross agent for expert advice.

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