NEW YORK CITY - The deadline to sign up for the Affordable Care Act via the online marketplace is nearing.

The cutoff date is Dec. 23 for those who want their coverage to begin in the new year.

To expedite the process of signing up, make sure to have all of the pertinent information close-by. This includes Social Security numbers for you and your family and an idea of a budget for your desired plan.

Officials say a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself how your life would change if you needed treatment for a condition.

The plan does not have to be paid for by Dec. 23, but it does have to be selected. Inability to meet the deadline may result in a fine.