Health insurance signup deadline approaching

Not signing up by March 31 will cost more

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The open enrollment period to sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchange website is approaching.

If you're uninsured and you don't sign up by the end of the month, you won't be able to again until November. Not to mention, it'll cost you.

Since the Affordable Care Act was first signed into law, signing up for coverage has raised questions among many.

"I need to research it more," one Jacksonville resident said. "There are some things that are confusing that I'm continuing to look into."

"There's going to be bumps in the road," another said. "It's not going to start off easy, nothing ever does. But yeah, if they've got it up and running, people need to be able to get it."

Still, countless people in Florida have no insurance. If you're among them, you have until March 31 to sign up online or else it will cost you at least $95 or one percent of income, financial planner Carolyn McClanahan said.

More than 442,000 Floridians have already signed up through the healthcare.gov website since October, and nearly a quarter-million are still eligible. McClanahan said it's not uncommon for people to worry about a possible penalty, but said it all comes down how much you earn.

"The thing is, if the insurance is too expensive for you, so if it's more than 8 percent of your income, the penalty won't apply," McClanahan said.

With the deadline right around the corner, chances are some of you have questions. Channel 4's having a phone bank Thursday where you can talk to an expert directly.

If you miss the deadline, you won't be able to sign up again until November. But there are some exceptions when you have a major change in your life, such as getting married, having a baby or changing jobs.

"You have so many days," McClanahan said. "It's 60 days within the major change. You have a baby, you need to add baby insurance, you have 60 days to do it."

Some say no matter what, it's important not to take the risk.

"You never know what's going to happen," one resident said. "Car accident, you never know who's going to hit you from behind. Anything. Just make sure you have some type of insurance."

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