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Deadline for health coverage enrollment extended through Christmas Eve

WBFO News file photo

The deadline for uninsured Americans to sign up health coverage under the Affordable Care Act was extended until the end of Tuesday, Christmas Eve. The White House decided to give extra 24 hours to citizens to sign up from Monday's looming deadline. BlueCross BlueShield of Western New Yorkhas noticed an increase in enrollment over the last week.

The deadline was first extended from the original December 15 deadline after the federal Website caused trouble to millions of Americans trying to sign up for health insurance.   By law -- those without coverage are required to confirm a plan and enroll.

"We are seeing -- especially people who have not had coverage -- are going to benefit greatly by the law," said Don Ingalls, vice president of State and Federal Relations at BlueCross BlueShield in Buffalo.   Those who enroll by Tuesday night's deadline will begin receiving their coverage on January first.

"There are two things to keep in mind -- one is you have to enroll in the plan and then the first month's payment is due by January 10th to effectuate coverage," said Ingalls.

WBFO News asked Ingalls what types of questions citizens inquiring about as they review healthcare plans for enrollment. 

"I think mostly that they’ve been interested in the details of the coverage and understanding what the benefits are and what the cost sharing is going to be of the products and just making sure they get the coverage for January," Ingalls said.

More than 130,000 citizens across Western New York received federal notices that their health insurance was ending.  For those who failed to enroll by tonight’s deadline -- they must enroll by January 15th in order to receive coverage by February 1st.  

On New York's Health Exchange Website-- it stated that more than 188,000 have enrolled so far for health care in the state.