Gov't says 36k have taken advantage of special enrollment for uninsured people facing fines

The Obama administration says about 36,000 people have taken advantage of a second chance to sign up for coverage under the president's health care law.

That's not a lot, considering that an estimated 4 million people are potentially eligible.

The special enrollment opportunity is being offered this year to uninsured people who didn't realize they are now legally required to have health insurance, and got hit with a tax penalty as a consequence of not signing up.

By signing up now, they can potentially avoid bigger fines for being uninsured in 2015.

Wednesday's update from the Department of Health and Human Services covers the 37 states served by, through Mar. 29.

It's not the final word. Consumers have until April 30 to take advantage of the special sign-up period.