I hate to add to your to-do list during the busy holiday season, but if you're planning on buying health insurance via the Affordable Care Act for next year, you've got a deadline fast approaching. Here's what you need to know to enroll for 2019 Marketplace insurance.
Read more: How to get health insurance if you lose your job
When is the deadline?
The deadline to enroll is this Saturday, Dec. 15. The Open Enrollment Period runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 for coverage starting on Jan. 1, 2019.
What happens if I miss the deadline?
You'll need to wait a year for the Open Enrollment Period to begin for 2020 unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period because you lost health coverage, moved, got married, had a baby or adopted a child.
Where do I sign up?
You can apply for, or re-enroll for, coverage at the government's website, HealthCare.gov. There's also a Spanish-language version at CuidadoDeSalud.gov.
Wait, isn't that website broken?
Nope, not anymore. After a rocky rollout years ago that made it next to impossible for Americans to sign up for coverage, the government has improved the site. Simply put, HealthCare.gov works now. It's easy to compare plans and get yourself signed up.
What do I need to sign up?
Here's a handy Marketplace Application Checklist (PDF). In brief, you'll need to know social security numbers and birth dates for everyone in your household that you're signing up. You'll also want to round up pay stubs or W-2 forms to provide the employer and income needed to sign up. And if you've got health care coverage, then you'll need to find the policy number for your current plan.
How much do plans cost?
You can check out price estimates without needing to sign up or fill out the full application on this HealthCare.gov plans and prices page. Just enter your zip code and answer a few quick questions (age, gender, income, household members) to see pricing, ratings and coverage details of the plans offered in your area.