Government extends deadline to enroll for healthcare - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Government extends deadline to enroll for healthcare

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

With millions of Americans still uninsured, the federal government made a last-minute decision to extend the enrollment deadline for the American Care Act.

Even with the extension, experts worry people won't make it in time to be covered on Jan. 1.

The website has been down and phone wait times have been extremely long.

Experts said your best bet is to enroll online, but at 6 p.m. you can't log in. It's been off and on all day.

There's something you can try in hopes of meeting the health insurance deadline, but it may affect your sleep schedule.

Last-minute shoppers have just two days to get their gifts wrapped and under the tree. If they're shopping for health insurance and hoping to have coverage by Jan. 1, shoppers have only one day left.

In a last-ditch effort to get people enrolled on time, the government extended the Affordable Care Act deadline on Monday. People now have until Tuesday at midnight to enroll.

The problem is if you call the 800 number, you get this message, "We're experiencing an unusually high caller volume."

If you try online, it's more of the same.

"The phone calls have been ‘Oh, can you help me?' and you know, it's heartbreaking when there is nothing you can do because the website is down," said Cecilia Quintero, a certified application counselor.

Advisors like Quintero worried about uninformed last-minute decisions and sticker shock, people purchasing the plan with the lowest premium, not realizing it will eventually cost them more at the doctor's office.

"They should be very aware about what they're about to sign up for," said Quintero.

Quintero's best advice at this point is to keep trying, perhaps during non-peak hours like 7 or 8 or at about 6 a.m. Tuesday.

If you miss Tuesday's deadline, you won't be insured on Jan. 1. However, you have until March 31 to get enrolled to miss the $95 fine.

"Try to get in as soon as you can somewhere or try the marketplace sometime after the holidays," said Quintero.

Along with the website and the marketplace hotline, there are also navigators set up in each city. Users can call and they will talk you through the process of signing up. However, they typically work 9-to-5 and they also use the same website to help you enroll.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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