Time’s almost up for getting a new health insurance plan that will start on January 1, 2014. If you don’t get signed up by December 23, you’re insurance coverage won’t start on January 1. But you can still get signed up for coverage to start at a later date as long as you do so by March 31, 2014.

Eric Hammond and his family won’t be missing the deadline.

Still a few years away from Medicare, Eric’s been working to start his own business. In the meantime, he’s struggled to keep quality health insurance. Last year, he bought an individual health plan to cover himself. But it was a short term medical plan which could be renewed every 11 months, but would exclude any conditions that showed up the next time he enrolled.

Eric and his wife Janette decided to check out the Washington marketplace, called Washington Health Plan Finder, which worked well and didn’t face technical problems like Healthcare.gov.

After working with a navigator and digging into the plans, he picked a bronze plan that will cost about $500/month. Though the plan costs more than his previous insurance, Eric and Janette believe the new plan will be better. “It provides much better coverage than we have had for him for about three years, when we had to start buying insurance for him privately,” Janette said.

Eric and Janette were so pleased with the process that they helped their neighbor get signed up. “In one 45 minute sitting, we got her signed up, enrolled, and paid for,” said Janette. “She is so thrilled.”