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Affordable Care Act

The Clock Is Ticking To Sign Up For Obamacare

The deadline approaches to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

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“…[I]t was about making good health decisions that are good for my health, and not just because I can afford it.” –Eddie Gonzales-Novoa

Houston area lawmakers came together to encourage uninsured consumers to enroll in health coverage before the March 31st deadline under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. After that, you could be penalized and pay a fine.

Houston state Rep. Sylvester Turner says it’s important that consumers begin the process before the deadline.

“Only if you have started the process will you have until like mid-April to finish it. So you at least have to have started the process by March 31st in order for that extension to be applicable to you. But there are thousands of folks, people in our area that don’t have access to healthcare that need it.”

According to the U.S. Census, more than 6-million Texans have no insurance, and state Sen. Sylvia Garcia says that percentage is greater in Harris County.

“So the bottom line is simple. The time is running out, you still have time. We need to make sure that we get as many Texans as we can, with the insurance that they need. You never know when a financial crisis is coming your way, simply because of your medical needs. I know my family just went through that. My niece got cancer and before we knew it, we all had to deal with it.”

Eddie Gonzales-Novoa left a full-time job in New York to help a family member in Houston. A low-cost private health plan he bought did not meet his medical needs.

Under the ACA, Novoa says he found peace of mind.

“I got a tax credit, so it’s a much lower monthly payment. I had no expectations; I was just looking for to pay about the same amount. It turns out I am paying less on a monthly basis, and I have a better plan. It was easy, and I think most importantly for me, it was about making good health decisions that are good for my health, and not just because I can afford it.”

State Rep. Garnet Coleman says he expects a last minute rush, but adds you won’t be penalized for starting the process now.

“People using the website, it may get clogged up. And that’s the reason why the administration said you know, if somebody has attempted to do this, we’re gonna give them extra time. So what we want people to know is if you haven’t attempted, please go and try and you’ll have extra time to fulfill the enrollment into the actual program.”

To sign up for coverage, visit HealthCare.gov.

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With only a few days left to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, some Houston-area lawmakers are getting the word out about the Monday deadline

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