The Affordable Care Act provided a six-month enrollment period to buy private insurance that ends on March 31. The deadline affects anyone who doesn't get coverage at work or is eligible for a public program. Here are some frequently asked questions.

Q: What if I don't buy coverage by March 31?

A: You'll have to wait until next year's open enrollment, which starts Nov. 15. There are exceptions for people who have insurance but whose status changes for such reasons as changing or losing a job, having a baby, or getting ­married or divorced.

Q: Will I be fined?

A: You could face a tax penalty of $95 or 1 percent of income, whichever is higher. You'll also be on the hook for 100 percent of medical costs if you get sick.

Q: Does this apply only to shopping on MNsure?

A: No. After March 31, you won't be able to use a broker or buy directly from the insurance companies until the next open enrollment period, unless your existing health insurance status changes.

Q: What if I'm eligible for a public health program?

A: Those who qualify for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare can enroll in coverage at any time, but officials urge families and individuals not to wait.

Q: How can I get help?

A: MNsure has added Sunday hours through open enrollment. Consumers can get help with enrollment and payment questions and other MNsure information by calling 1-855-3-MNSURE or 1-855-366-7873.