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Affordable Care Act Marketplace Enrollees Seek Last-Minute Help To Sign Up For Insurance

Reported: Mar. 31, 2014 5:31 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 31, 2014 5:54 PM EDT
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BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. (Darrah Wilcox) -- Candi Parsley said she's been putting off enrolling in the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplace for a few reasons. "It's been a little nerve wracking. I'm not familiar with the web site that much. I've had some trouble logging on."

She's a small business owner who's been without health insurance for a few years, because being added to her husband's policy would double their premium each month. She said while her husband has a good, steady job, it's just not feasible for them to pay the extra month each month. "It's just frustrating, because honestly we can't afford the insurance, on a whole family," she said.

After visiting the Healthcare.gov website a few times, she decided to talk to a Valley Health Assister for help. "I chose to come up here and talk to someone that could kind of guide me through it," she said.

The certified "assisters" have helped educate and enroll thousands since they started in October, at several Valley Health locations. Karen Pruitt helps out at the Huntington Mall location, that's been open seven days a week during mall hours since February. "It's kind of a scary process when you go in to the healthcare.gov. it's easily accessible and it's pretty user-friendly, but there's a lot of questions they may not understand or may be afraid to answer," she said.

She said some people were surprised to find out they actually qualify for Medicaid under a recently expanded plan.

At first, people sought education over enrollment, but as the March 31st deadline loomed, enrollment shot up. "People that are beginning to kind of realize they need to get this done or pay the fee, so we've had an upsurge of the amount of people that are coming in and the amount of people that are enrolling," said Pruitt.

While there were temporary outages online Monday due to volume and long wait times on the phone, as long as enrollees began the process, they'll have a couple weeks extra to finish enrollment without paying the fine. You can enroll online or on the phone through midnight.

"Assisters" will be available for educational purposes even after enrollment is over. You can reach them at 1-855-984-6797.



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