The law requires almost everyone to have health insurance. Fines start as low as $95 the first year but go up after that.
Outside the open enrollment window, your only option to find coverage may be if you have a major life change such as getting married, having a child or losing a job, said Carrie McLean, director of customer care at eHealthInsurance, a private health insurance exchange owned by eHealth Inc.
Customers have until Dec. 15 to sign up if they want coverage to start Jan. 1. They then have until the end of March to sign up and avoid paying a penalty for going without coverage in 2014.