How Do I Buy an Individual Health Insurance Plan?

How Do I Buy an Individual Health Insurance Plan?

There are two times when you can buy health insurance. These two periods are called open enrollment and special enrollment. 

Open enrollment starts on Nov. 1 each year. Any other sign-up time falls under special enrollment. To buy health insurance during special enrollment, you must have a qualifying "life event" within the past 60 days. Examples include losing your job, moving to a new area, getting married or having a child

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) offers tools to help you find a plan that's right for you. Use Provider Finder and Premium Tax Estimator to see your choices. They make health insurance shopping simpler. Visit to view and compare all BCBSMT family and individual health insurance plans available to you — even plans offered on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Provider Finder® lets you search our large network of doctors, dentists, hospitals and more. You can look for a new doctor who is in-network for the plan you're thinking about buying. If you already have a doctor you want to stick with, use the tool to see if your current doctor is in-network for the plan you’re considering.

Premium Tax Estimator helps you know how much financial assistance you may qualify for based on your income and household size. Remember, this premium tax credit amount is just an estimate. The amount of your official premium tax credit will come from the Health Insurance Marketplace.

If you’re on any prescription drugs, check the standard drug list and generic drug list to make sure the plan covers your meds.

After you’ve chosen a plan that fits your budget, medical and prescription drug needs, track your application status with Enrollment Tracker

Visit our website to shop plans, or if online shopping isn’t your thing, give us a call instead at 855-591-1515.

Originally published 4/1/2015; Revised 2018, 2021, 2023