WASHINGTON - People in Washington state without health insurance should at least begin the process of applying for coverage by Monday.
December 23rd is the deadline to enroll for health care if you want to avoid a coverage gap that would start January 1st.
However, the Washington state health exchange marketplace, WAHealthplanfinder.org says if glitches on the website are preventing you from signing up for coverage by 11:59 PM on Monday, you have until January 15th, as long as you started the application by the end of the day on December 23rd.
If you have applied for coverage and paid for your health plan by the 15th, your insurance plan will retroactively cover your health costs back to January 1st.
People who don't begin their applications by Monday the 23rd, won't have insurance in January, however they will have until March to sign up for coverage and avoid the federal penalty.
People in Washington who got up early on Monday to start their applications for health insurance may have been disappointed.
The site was down for maintenance and told people to return at 7 AM. However, the site stayed offline until nearly 9 AM. A spokesman for the Washington Healthplanfinder says the site was down for scheduled maintenance, and was then extended for another few hours so technicians could run some applications that had previously been stopped by error messages.
About 32,000 people living in Washington have completed their applications for private insurance and made their first payment for insurance that begins on Jan. 1. Another 61,000 have done everything but made the first payment. Thousands more are still in process.