The open enrollment period starts Wednesday for those who want health care under the Affordable Care Act.
This year's enrollment period has been cut in half from 90 to 45 days, and North Carolina Navigator Consortium Spokesman Mark Van Arnam says people shouldn't put off enrolling until the December 15th deadline.
“We're thinking that we'll be pretty busy over the next 45 days, so we're encouraging folks to act early,” he said.
The consortium helps coordinates free help for people who want to sign up for coverage on the federal marketplace.
Van Arnam says 90 percent of North Carolinians who enrolled on the marketplace last year received some financial assistance on their plan. Anyone who declines health insurance coverage will be subject to a penalty of $695 or more, he said.
“If, for some reason, it's not affordable to them, or if they have other reasons that they're not getting it, due to religious reasons or something along those lines, we can also help them make sure they're getting those exemptions so they wouldn't be liable when tax time comes around,” he said.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina will offer plans in all 100 counties. Cigna will also have coverage options for residents of Chatham, Nash, Orange and Wake Counties.