Health Care Coverage Enrollment Deadline Coming Up - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Health Care Coverage Enrollment Deadline Coming Up

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If you don't have health care, the days are numbered for you to get it. If you don't have health care, the days are numbered for you to get it.

KENNEWICK, WA - If you don't have health care, the days are numbered for you to get it.

And if you don't meet the deadline to sign up for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act then it'll cost you.

People need to enroll for health care by March 31st.

Around 130,000 people have enrolled in private health plans since October, but studies show there's up to 1 million people in Washington without coverage.

Whether you use government resources to get insurance or not, people won't be able to get coverage for 2014 if they miss this deadline.

If people miss the deadline, they'll have to do without and wait until the next open enrollment in November.

"They cannot get health insurance, period. No matter how sick they are, no matter how much they want it, no matter how much they want to pay for it, they cannot get health insurance in the state of Washington after the 31st of March," said Phillip Lynch, benefits consultant at Advisor Benefits.

If people cannot prove they have health insurance on their 2014 tax return, they'll get a penalty from the IRS for $95 or 1% of their income.

"People hear that ninety-five dollars number and it doesn't sound like much, but that's really the lower end of the spectrum, it can be one percent of your income, which for some people can be a sizeable amount of money," said Bethany Frey, Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

It has been a troubling time for the Washington Healthplanfinder website since it launched in October.

Several glitches, shutdowns and customer service delays have left people frustrated and pushed back their enrollment time.

Benefit consultants say it's been unpredictable how long the enrollment process will take.

"Finish someone up in 20 to 30 minutes, other times it takes weeks and sometimes even months because there's been problems with the application," Lynch said.

Lynch says he hopes people will sign up soon and he feels relieved the end is near.

"Yahoo! Coming to a deadline!" Lynch said.

If people enroll by March 31st, that plan will become effective May 1st.

If you register and submit your payment by March 23rd, you can get coverage beginning April 1st.

Some people may be able to enroll after the March 31 deadline if they have a qualifying life event.

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