DETROIT -

It's no secret the launch of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, did not go smoothly. There has been website frustration, Congressional outrage, and an apology from President Obama.

After all the drama, an important deadline is still fast-approaching. If you want coverage for your family on January 1st, you must be enrolled by Monday, December 23rd.

"Love it or hate it, it's in your best interest to find out what it means for your family," said Nicole Duritz, the V.P. of Education and Outreach for the AARP. She's urging Americans who need to sign up for coverage to do so before the December 23rd deadline.

"You never know when you're going to have a health emergency. No one plans to have appendicitis. No one plans to go for a bike ride, hit a stone, and go over the handlebars," Duritz added.

While she acknowledged problems with the healthcare.gov website, Duritz says she hears the site is much more effective now. She also says there are other ways to sign up.          

"You can pick up the phone and call. You can use the website. You can go to people in person," she listed the options people have to get more information about their coverage options and to enroll.

Coverage Required, Penalties Ahead

All Americans need to remember, you are now required to have some kind of insurance or you could face penalties down the road.

"If you are not signed up and enrolled by March 31st, there is a penalty. And in the first year, it's $95 or one percent of your income, whichever is higher," warned Nicole Duritz, the V.P. of Education and Outreach for the AARP.

While the penalty could be painful, Duritz says the peace of mind of having health coverage could be priceless.

"The majority of bankruptcies, personal bankruptcies in America are caused by medical expenses. So, don't risk it!"

The AARP has setup a website that could help you focus on your needs before heading to the government site- http://healthlawanswers.aarp.org

Or go directly to the government's site. The site will spell out other options, in case you're having issues online. https://www.healthcare.gov/