Nearly 11,000 new people sign up for health insurance through Washington state exchange

SEATTLE (AP) — Just over a month into the third year of the new health care law, Washington officials say nearly 11,000 new people have bought health insurance through the state insurance exchange.

More than 112,000 have renewed their coverage for 2016. Dec. 23 is the deadline for signing up for health insurance that takes effect on Jan. 1. But open enrollment runs through Jan. 31.

Pam MacEwan, the CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, said they are happy with the number of people who have started to sign up for insurance this year. She expects many will wait until the last minute to complete their applications.

Everyone who doesn't have health insurance in 2016 —either through work or on their own — will face a bigger fine for failing to obey the rules of the Affordable Care Act. The fine goes up to $685 a year or 2.5 percent of annual income — whichever is greater — for each person.