BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - What began as a rocky rollout of Healthcare.gov is turning into a last minute rush to buy health insurance.
"It's kind of coming to a crescendo," said Navigators for a Healthy Louisiana State Director Brian Burton.
Less than 20 days remain before the open enrollment period ends for this year, but many consumers still have questions.
"The groups that we're working with the most are those that have never had insurance before," said Burton.
According to the latest estimate from the federal government, 4.2 million people have signed up for health insurance through the marketplace since the October launch. Experts expect that number will continue to grow over the next few weeks.
"My advice is don't wait. There are several numbers you can call. Application counselors are available," said certified application counselor Calvin Beal.
The deadline to apply is March 31. After that, most people wanting to purchase health insurance will have to wait until the market reopens in November. Burton says there are a few extenuating circumstances that will allow someone to purchase insurance outside of the marketplace, including the loss of a job or getting married.
Anyone who has not signed up for health insurance after March 31 could face a fine of one percent of your yearly household income or 95 dollars per person per year, whichever amount is higher. That fine will increase each year without insurance.