ABILENE, Texas -

There is less than three weeks to sign up for health coverage and avoid a tax penalty. The deadline is March 31.

Nationally, Health and Human Services announced today that 4.2 million people have signed up.

The Lone Star State has the highest percentage of people without health insurance coverage, but that's changing. Texas ranked third behind California and Florida in total enrollments since the launch of healthcare.gov on October 1.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said as of March 1 almost 300,000 Texans had signed up for health care coverage.

"There is a penalty which they would have to pay for not having insurance it's 1 percent of their annual income," said Abilene Regional Medical Center Admissions Manager D’Nette Broyles.

For those who don't want to navigate the healthcare.gov website alone, Abilene hospitals are there to help. Both Abilene Regional and Hendrick Medical Center have counselors available.

"Give us a call, set up an appointment, come in, sit down with one of our counselors and start that enrollment process. You definitely want to do that," said Broyles.

The appointment usually lasts about an hour.  

"They have walked them through the application process, so they know the application is there and it's confirmed," said Broyles.

Broyles said they have had a good turnout in the last six months.

"We've had, I would say, approximately about 90 to 95 appointments since we started this process," said Broyles.

In 2012, six million Texans were uninsured, so there's still a long way to go.

"Take advantage of it while you can," said Broyles.

Once the March 31 deadline passes you will have to wait until November to enroll for 2015.

 

For help enrolling you can call:

    Betty Hardwick Center at 325-690-5256

    Big Country Aids Resources at 325-672-3077

    Abilene Regional Medical Center 325-428-1290

    or Hendrick Medical Center at 325-670-2000