The clock is ticking! Deadline to enroll in federal health insurance is midnight Sunday

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare is midnight Sunday, February 15th. As the deadline approached, the nation's top health official had a message for folks in Wisconsin.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell says she encourages Wisconsin's uninsured to sign up for coverage ahead of the midnight deadline.

"That's about your own health security and your financial security," Burwell said.

Nearly ten million people have signed up for health insurance across the nation during the "Open Enrollment" period.

Burwell says Badger State sign-ups have been brisk.

"In Wisconsin what we've seen is almost 183,000 people have selected plans," Burwell said.

Of those, Burwell says nearly 90% qualify for a subsidy. On average, Wisconsinites signing up for health insurance via the federal marketplace will get a $319 discount to make the insurance more affordable.

All week, officials in Milwaukee County and the city of Milwaukee have been encouraging people to sign up using the Healthcare.gov marketplace and local resources. Still, the Affordable Care Act remains a political hot-button issue in Wisconsin. Governor Scott Walker has been a vocal opponent of the law -- criticizing it as a federal government expansion that taxpayers cannot afford.

"For those issues, in terms of the taxpayers, Medicare spending is $116 billion lower than it was predicted to be. That's affordability for the taxpayer.  With regard to access, we know that last year 2013-2014, ten million fewer Americans were uninsured, so what I would say in response to those questions is can we focus on the substantive issues?" Burwell said.

If you miss the enrollment deadline, and do not have health insurance, you'll have to wait another year to enroll. You'll also be subject to a 2% penalty on your taxes if you do not quality for an exemption.

CLICK HERE to access Healthcare.gov -- where you can browse plans and prices, get help enrolling, and learn more about the tax penalties for the uninsured.

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