Healthcare advocates are urging Texans not to forget about health insurance as they head in to the holidays and make plans for 2016.
The first major deadline for insurance through the Affordable Care Act is next Tuesday, December 15.
That's the last day to enroll in a health plan if you want insurance coverage that starts January 1.
The final deadline for insurance enrollment for 2016 is January 31, but advocates say it doesn't make sense to wait and endure weeks of being uninsured.
2016 will be the third year that the federal government offers subsidized health plans, popularly known as "Obamacare."
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins made a special plea for Texans to get insured, because access to medical care can save lives.
Make an appointment with a Houston-area enrollment counselor: Enroll Gulf Coast
National enrollment website Healthcare.gov or call (800) 318-2596
Find a licensed insurance broker or agent: National Association of Health Underwriters zip code search.
"When I was a young child, I watched my father suffer a fatal heart attack when I was seven years-old in a park here in Oak Cliff, in Dallas," Jenkins said.
Jenkins said his family was struggling at the time and he doesn't recall if his father had insurance coverage or not, but he said his dad definitely wasn't getting regular check-ups with a doctor.
After his father's sudden death, Jenkins' uncle decided to visit a doctor. He quickly learned he had a coronary blockage and needed bypass surgery.
The uncle, who had insurance through a job, lived 43 more years. Insurance coverage saves lives, Jenkins said.
"I don't want to see any person who has a preventable illness leave their family – or suffer less quality of life – because they don't have insurance," he said.
"The good news is now we've got this affordable insurance option."
In Houston, about 400,000 people who qualify for the Obamacare plans still have not signed up.
People who don't get covered could face a tax penalty next year of $695 or 2.5 percent of their income.