SPOKANE, Wash. -

There's been a spike in health care enrollments in Washington, with 300,000 residents signed up already, but almost just as many are waiting until the last minute to decide as more deadlines loom.

After a troubled start for the state exchange and the federal website -- the number of people signing up are increasing thanks, in part, to the long enrollment period and shorter wait times.

The new year can bring relief to people, a sense of starting over, especially if you're one of the thousands who will finally have health insurance.

This week there was a spike in enrollees; 148,000 have qualified for Medicare while about 65,000 have signed up for private plans.

"As long as you got in the system by Monday, you're ok," Curt Fackler with Better Health Together said.

But if you haven't paid yet like the 248,811 people in the state waiting now is the time.

Pay for the first premium by January 10 and you'll get insurance. If not you'll need to pay by January 23 to receive coverage in February.

By March 31 everyone needs to be signed up or you will have to pay a fee, ranging from $95 per adult to one percent of your income.

For now it appears many people are waiting until the last minute.

"Pretty busy on Monday; the big rush was really last Thursday and Friday," Fackler said.

The spike will go even higher this week. Sodexo, which serves food at local universities like Gonzaga and Whitworth, just reassigned some of their employees to part time, cutting their benefits. Fackler met with one today and said the benefit exchange will help.

"Most companies don't give part-time employees coverage anyway," he said. "A year ago if this would have happened, they wouldn't have any other place to go."

If you signed up previously but canceled your credit cards because of the URM or Target security breach recently you will need to check to make sure your payment went through before your card was cancelled.