Monday is deadline to buy health plans that take effect on New Year's

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Californians who want health coverage by Jan. 1, 2015 and those who want to switch into a new plan that takes effect starting New Year's Day have until the end of Monday to sign up for their new policy.

Open enrollment for those who buy their own individual and family health insurance plans began Nov. 15 and lasts through Feb. 15, 2015.  The three-month sign-up period is the only time most Americans who buy their own health coverage will be allowed to get a new 2015 policy or switch plans.

However  health insurance, unlike some other types of coverage, doesn’t start on the day of purchase. Instead, the industry follows a staggered start period with plans bought by the 15th of December starting on Jan. 1 and those purchased between Dec. 16 and Dec. 31  taking effect Feb. 1, 2015.