BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts residents who don’t have health insurance or who need to take action to stay covered have until Dec. 23 to enroll or renew coverage through the Massachusetts Health Connector to obtain coverage for Jan. 1.

Massachusetts Health Connector Executive Director Louis Gutierrez said the Dec. 23 deadline is important for people who need to get covered, or stay covered, for the start of the new year.

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As of Dec. 3, more than 261,000 people were already enrolled for coverage starting Jan. 1.

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Anyone needing help finding coverage for next year can go to the Health Connector website and find a local organization with trained individuals who can help.

Since 2006, Massachusetts has had a state individual mandate and requires adults have health coverage or face a tax penalty.

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