SARASOTA, Fla. -- The last minute push to get people insured through the Affordable Care Act continues, and everyone from local government agencies to community organizations are getting involved.
"Hello. Have you signed up for health insurance yet?" That's Michael Fisher, one of the many volunteers with Organizing for Action who took on the task of reminding people about today's Healthcare.gov enrollment deadline. While his organization was getting the word out, groups like the Sarasota County Department of Health were providing assistance with the signup process -- a move they say is necessary to meet the looming deadline.
"Organizing for Action is doing its final push to get people enrolled in the health care exchanges by providing them with the information they need to do that," Fisher says.
"You have to have attempted to apply for coverage by 11:59 p.m. tonight, or if not you're not going to be able to be covered again until open enrollment," says Linda Stone of the Sarasota County Department of Health. That's not until Nov. 15, 2014 -- leaving a long wait for anyone who fails to meet the current deadline.
Stone says coverage will start on May 1st for those who meet the March 31 deadline. And there still may be some leeway for those who have started the process but are having trouble completing it.
"[The Center For Medicaid Services] is looking at a special enrollment period for individuals who had difficulty signing up," Stone says. "That being said, [CMS] are the ones who will determine if you're eligible for a special enrollment period, and you have to have attempted to apply for coverage by 11:59 p.m. tonight."
That special enrolment period will give those having difficulty until April 15th to complete the process. Still, volunteers like Fisher say you shouldn't take any chances.
"You never know what's going to happen to you," he says, "because the next accident you might have, you might be bankrupted."