Last month to sign up for healthcare before penalty in 2014

By Matt Porter

February 27, 2014 Updated Feb 27, 2014 at 6:17 PM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Healthcare advocates and navigators make final push for healthcare sign ups as deadline for new healthcare law is only a month away.

"This countdown to coverage is intended to get the word out to everyone who may have been putting this off," said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-123). "It's very very important they look into this if they are eligible."

March 31 is the final day people can sign up for coverage on the new healthcare exchanges for 2014.

Although some exceptions will be made for people who have changes in their income or work status to re-apply later.

More than a half a million people in New York have already signed up through its healthcare exchange website.

The state has set a goal to enroll 1.1 million by 2016.

The state is funding local organizations to act as healthcare navigators to help people find and choose a plan.

Brendan O'Bryan, a healthcare navigator at the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, said the response has been encouraging since enrollment opened on October 1.

"I think we're exceeding expectations on numbers, not just meeting," O'Bryan said. "I know at the chamber of commerce we're going far past what we thought our numbers would be as of today."

Healthcare navigators in charge of helping people sign up for coverage say the demographics of people signing up range from the young to the old.

And they say they are seeing more younger people, between the ages of 26 to 34, signing up as the deadline approaches.

Individuals could face a tax penalty of 95 dollars, or one percent of their of adjusted income, whichever is greater if they fail to sign up before the deadline.

The penalty will be capped at the price for the national average of a yearly bronze plan.

To find information about choosing a plan or finding a local navigator, you can visit the New York healthcare website.

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