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Countdown is on to Sign Up for Federal Healthcare

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Tonight you have exactly one week to sign up for the Federal Healthcare Exchange if you want coverage starting January 1. As FOX17 National Correspondent Kristine Frazao shows us, very few Americans will be a part of that group. Inside the realm of healthcare, it's been a year of deadlines. That October 1 deadline for open enrollment, then a new deadline in November when the website didn't work properly. There's another deadline that will change everything. It may sound simple enough, but with many consumed with other expenses followed by those initial website delays, industry experts predict between just 5-15% have actually paid.

Karen Pollitz is a Senior Fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation and says many people don't realize that payments need to go directly to the insurer, a separate website and process. Insurers report applications with errors and missing data with thousands never even getting through, so the companies don't know who to contact. The Obama Administration has urged insurance companies to be more lenient with late payments. For people who are switching plans, a gap in payment could mean a gap in coverage with more confusion in the new year about why medical expenses aren't paid. Overall, this could lead to new costs and land many customers starting at square one.

Experts say if you're enrolled it's a good idea to do a follow up with the insurance company taking care of your application.

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