Skip to main content

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 2016 and later years it's 2.5 percent of income or $695 per person.

Back to Top

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

Enrolling on Find out if you can get help paying for insurance. If you got help last year, you’ll need to apply again this year.

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.

Back to Top

Step 3 - Get Ready to Shop

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

  • A personal email account.
  • A marketplace account. Create a marketplace account online today.
  • Social Security numbers and birth dates for each member of your household who needs coverage on this plan
  • Employer and income information for every member of your household who needs coverage on this plan (pay stubs, W-2 forms, etc.)
  • Policy numbers for any current health insurance plans, if you have coverage

Back to Top

Individual Healthcare Checklist

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


Step 4 - Start Shopping

For 2016, you may begin enrolling Nov. 1. The marketplace will be open until Jan. 31, 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.

* *

Your name, phone and email are required fields.*


Back to Top

  • Shop Plans

    Learn about our 2014 individual and family plans.
    Go »

  • Get Updates

    Want to learn more about healthcare reform and the right healthcare solutions for you? Request information online, by mail or in person.

  • FAQs

    Have questions? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions for answers.