Deadline For Health Care Law Approaching

8:29 PM, Dec 23, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A deadline for those seeking health coverage under the affordable care act is looming. 

It's a deadline that was pushed back after millions of people experienced problems with the healthcare website.

"I do need insurance. I do need to be covered," said Melvin Patterson, a painter by trade who went to the Cooperative Ministry in Columbia seeking to sign up for health insurance coverage under the Affordable care Act. 

Patterson said he is glad the healthcare law was written, passed and signed, and said because of it, he is now hopeful he will be able to receive health coverage on the federal market place.

"I wanted to be covered before Jan. 1," Patterson said. I waited too late (sic) as it is, but at least I'm here."

Many people like Patterson showed up at the Cooperative Ministry offices, bringing a steady stream of hopefuls looking to sign up.

Staff was busy working to keep up with the people coming in. 

In order to have insurance that kicks in by January, you must sign up by Tuesday at midnight, which is a deadline that was extended after initially being set for Dec. 15, but pushed back after millions across the country had problems using the website, something Patterson said he was hopeful would not hold up his application.

"I'm very worried about that, so now hopefully everything will run smoothly to where everyone who needs the proper insurance care can get it," Patterson said.

Despite initial problems with the healthcare website, the Obama administration says the number of successful signups is increasing, and that recent numbers show that about a million people have signed up successfully.

Marcus Marbert, a navigator based at the Cooperative Ministry said they had been busy all day, and that that problems with the website had been mostly cleared up.

Navigators are people specifically designated and trained to help individuals figure out their options on the exchanges. 

"It's not 100 percent perfection, but from Oct. 1,  it really has become a whole new device to work with," Patter said, referring to the start of enrollment under the law.

The Cooperative Ministry said they were able to successfully sign up more than 220 people between Dec. 15 and Dec. 20.

If you do not sign up by Tuesday at midnight, your coverage will not kick in until Feb. 1.

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