Deadline nears for healthcare signup

Updated: 03/29/2014 8:12 PM
Created: 03/29/2014 7:43 PM WHEC.com

If you don't have health insurance and you haven't signed up for coverage under the affordable care act, you're running out of time. You have until Monday at midnight to register or you could face a penalty, and not be able to sign up at all.

Dozens of people turned out at the Edgerton Community Center in Rochester Saturday sign up with the help of volunteers. Some of the people we talked to say they waited simply because they didn't know what else to do. Problems with the rollout made it tough, sometimes impossible, for people to register themselves.

Chad Johnson said "Honestly I tried to sign up months ago and the website froze on me, so I thought I'll just get to it when I get to it, and I didn't really think about it, and then it dawned on me that Monday is the deadline."

But even with help from volunteers, the process didn't come without some problems. Even today computers froze, making it a hassle at times to sign up. But ask Joseph Molinari, and he'll tell you it's still worth it in the end. "The relief, knowing that I got health insurance, that's the only thing I was lacking. I needed health insurance, and I came in here and it worked out great," Molinari said.

The state health exchange shows more than one million New Yorkers have completed applications for insurance, though fewer than 800,000 have enrolled for specific coverage. That's why volunteers like Shannon Kelly say the push is on. Kelly says "If you haven't signed up by the 31st, then you won't be eligible to enroll in health insurance, unless you are medicaid eligible, and that eligibility is based on your income. So that's why we're pushing everyone to get enrolled."

Volunteers say they can't emphasize enough how important it is to sign up before Monday's deadline, because after that you won't be able to sign up at all until the next open enrollment this November. On top of that, you could also be forced to pay a penalty.

If you haven't signed up yet, the first thing you should do between now and Monday is go to the state's health website. You'll be able to sign up yourself or find a navigator to help you with the process. You can also call the hotline at 1-855-355-5777.

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