2021 open enrollment for health insurance ends Dec. 15

Uninsured Bay Area residents have until Tuesday to enroll for a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act or risk losing coverage for 2021.

For Floridians in need of health insurance, the time to sign up is running out. The crucial deadline is a day away and it must be met -- or you could risk not being covered. With this year's pandemic, insurance experts are warning not getting coverage could be a costly mistake.

"The stress and anxiety of not being covered in a global pandemic is significant for folks so I think this year, people are actively taking advantage of this open enrollment period given where we are at with COVID-19," said Sunshine Health senior vice president Charlene Zein.

So far, this year in Florida, signups for Affordable Care Act health care plans are up compared to last year. Federal data shows signups increased by 7% during the first three weeks of open enrollment compared to 2019. Zein said she's seeing people be more proactive this year about getting coverage.

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When you do decide to enroll, be sure to explore all options, she explained.

"You really should be going out there and comparing what you're able to purchase and then keep in mind that the majority of people who are actually applying for health insurance on the market place quality for subsidies," Zein said.

Subsidies or financial assistance from the government -- if you quality -- can help bring down your premium or help pay out of pocket costs. Most importantly, Zein said, know you're all options and find a provider and doctor you're comfortable with.

To explore health care plans, visit healthcare.gov.