Though "repeal and replace" has become a mantra for opponents of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, the health insurance program is still very much with us. If you want insurance that is effective as of Jan. 1, 2017, you have until Thursday, Dec. 15, to sign up at www.healthcare.gov, where you also can find resources to get help in person and over the phone to make your selection.

About 8.8 million Americans (including 321,345 Pennsylvania residents and 205,242 New Jerseyans) who bought insurance through HealthCare.gov for the current year receive tax credits. But federal officials say many more people are eligible. These include people who didn't get a credit in 2016 but may be eligible for 2017 even if their income remains the same, because insurance rates have gone up.

One example from the U.S. Department  of Health and Human Services, which operates the program: In 2017, a 27-year-old in Pennsylvania with a $25,000 income will pay $142 per month to purchase the benchmark "silver" plan, almost exactly the same as in 2016. The numbers are identical in New Jersey even though the unsubsidized premiums are not; subsidies make up the difference ($185 in the Pennsylvania example, $144 in New Jersey).

Another group that may be missing out on subsidies: People who buy individual coverage in the federal marketplace. Only plans sold on healthcare.gov are eligible for subsidies.

The largest group of people missing out on subsidies are those who have remained uninsured: nearly 9 million, according to HHS.

As of Nov. 26, more than 2 million people (including more than 100,000 in Pennsylvania and 65,000 in New Jersey) had signed up for coverage, according to federal data.

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