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Affordable Care Act Deadline Approaching

Reported: Mar. 27, 2014 12:10 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 27, 2014 3:41 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katelyn Sykes) -- Monday is the last chance for people without health insurance to sign up for individual health coverage for the remainder of the year, or face a penalty.

The White House has been trying to make sure people know the Affordable Care Act's open enrollment period ends on March 31.

But there are loopholes if you can't sign up by then.

"Only Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is offering products, but they offer 11 different ones and some would have a high deductible but no premium at all," said Perry Bryant, executive director of West Virginians For Affordable Health Care. "Other people would have a modest premium and modest co-pays."

Millions of Americans including thousands of West Virginians still aren't insured and many don't even know that.

The Kaiser Family Foundation released a study, and in it, more than 60 percent f those without coverage didn't even know it. Only 39 percent of the uninsured knew about Monday's deadline and 18 percent thought the deadline was later or had already passed.

"A lot of people who are going to benefit from the Affordable Care Act the most understand the least about it," Bryant said. "That's why I can't encourage people enough to either go to the Healthcare.gov website or they can get personal assistance this Saturday at the mall."

Now the Obama administration is giving people two extra weeks to sign up for insurance. But you have to check a box on the ACA's website saying you at least tried to sign up.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin saids there are so many problems with the law and it needs to be fixed first.

"They voted 41 times on it. We've already set a pattern that we're not going to repeal it," Manchin said. "Can it be repaired? Then we should be working in a constructive way to repair. Get rid of the parts that don't work, get rid of the parts we can't afford.

Administration officials expect a surge of Americans waiting until the last minute to sign up for coverage this weekend. They expect six million Americans to enroll but those numbers are down by about a million due to website issues when it was first launched.

To sign up for health care coverage, just go to HealthCare.gov.

If you remain uninsured in 2014, you face a $95 penalty or 1 percent of your income, whichever is greater.

Open enrollment for 2015 will start in November.



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