Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica J. Lindeen urged Montanans still needing health insurance to take note: The last day to buy health insurance for this year is less than one week away.

Spokeswoman for Commissioner Lindeen, Jennifer McKee said on Tuesday, March 25, said the open enrollment period ends on March 31.

"The deadline to sign up for individual health insurance is March 31, unless you have something called a qualifying life event," McKee said. "It doesn't matter whether you buy it from Healthcare.gov or outside the website, this open enrollment deadline applies to all of it."

A “qualifying life event” can trigger a special open enrollment period. These events include marriage or the birth or the adoption of a child. A medical emergency is not a qualifying life event.

McKee explains the reason why the federal government can dictate when an individual American can or cannot be allowed to purchase health insurance.

"Obamacare at its heart is really just insurance regulation," McKee said. "One of those new rules is that insurance companies cannot deny coverage for any reason, so there was concern in the insurance industry that if people can't be turned down for insurance, they would simply wait until they got sick or injured to purchase health insurance. Health insurance companies cannot operate that way, so the government created this open enrollment period during which time you can purchase health insurance."

McKee clarifies the March 31 deadline, as to how far along the insurance purchasing procedure must be to qualify.

"If you hit "buy now", it'll count," McKee said. "The website Healthcare.gov is working very well now, and you're really only talking about a half an hour to get the whole process completed. So, getting all the way through the process is not as hard as it sounds."

Spokeswoman for Commissioner Lindeen, Jennifer McKee