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Enrollment Deadline Approaching For Affordable Care Act screen capture, Jan. 10, 2017. screen capture, Jan. 10, 2017.

As Congress debates repealing the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration is making a push to get as many people as possible to shop for health insurance via

The deadline to buy health coverage is the end of this month. People are only allowed to sign up for between November and January to prevent them from dropping in and out of coverage throughout the year, and only have to pay for it when they have an acute healthcare need.

The price of health plans on in Montana rose sharply this year, but Ben Wakana, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says, tax credits mean most Montanans can still find coverage for around $75 a month:

"In Montana eight in 10 enrollees in coverage get a tax credit. That tax credit averages almost $500 a month," Wakana says.

The federal government says that as of last week, more than 52,000 Montanans had signed up for coverage through Nearly 11,000 of them are new customers. is also where people can go to see if they qualify for Montana’s year-old Medicaid expansion. The state says that since the Affordable Care Act passed, the number of uninsured people in Montana has dropped by nearly two-thirds, to a little over 7 percent today.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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