Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act ends this Saturday, and the number of North Carolinians who have signed up so far is much lower than in previous years.

The enrollment period for coverage on the federal health insurance exchange started November 1 and ends December 15. Plans purchased on the exchange go into effect at the beginning of the year.

According to the most recent numbers from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, more than 236,000 individuals in the state have already signed up.

With a few days to go, that's still a significant drop compared to almost 520,000 enrollees last year.

There are currently three insurance providers offering plans in North Carolina: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina, Cigna, and AmBetter of North Carolina Inc.

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