Deadline looming for health insurance coverage for January 1st - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Deadline looming for health insurance coverage for January 1st

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Time's almost up to go shopping, and we're not talking about Christmas.

You have until December 24th to sign up for Obamacare if you want insurance to kick in on January 1st.

The deadline was originally December 23rd, but the feds are giving Americans one extra day.

"We have seen a definite increase in our activity and people calling for assistance because of the deadline that is coming up," says Sondra Gardetto, manager for health insurance at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center.

Saint Joseph Regional has a staff of experts ready to answer any questions people might have about the health insurance marketplace on www.healthcare.gov.

"We've actually been scheduling appointments through January, and now into February," says Gardetto.

Gardetto says, the hospital has initiated more than 275 applications since the website launched. "That represents many more individuals because we are serving families as well." Gardetto says. "Several of them have qualified for a tax credit and they've gotten enrolled in a health insurance plan."

The new December 24th signup deadline is to ensure coverage at the start of the new year.
Americans without insurance still have time to sign up without being fined.

"You have until the end of March to actually enroll and select a plan," says Patty Gremaux with Community Outreach at Elkhart General Hospital.

Gremaux has also been busy answering questions about Obamacare.

She says while the website is working a lot better than it was when it was first launched, there are still some challenges.


"They send out a message that says, 'We have a significant amount of visitors on the website right now. We're gonna let you wait, or if you prefer, we'll email you when the website can accommodate you,'" says Gremaux.

Elkhart General has successfully enrolled several people in plans that will take effect January 1st.

For those who haven't enrolled yet, the hospital suggests taking the time to research plans before making a decision.

"Some of the premiums, even with the subsidies and the tax credits, still might be somewhat higher end than maybe some people might realize, so we really want them to have a chance to absorb the information and not have sticker shock and not know what to do," says Gremaux.

For help signing up, you can call St. Joseph Regional Medical Center at 1-855-88SJMED or 1-855-887-5633

You can also call Elkhart General Hospital's Health Coverage Enrollment Center at 574-524-7586 (English) or 574-524-7518 (Linea an Espanol.)

At least one person successfully enrolled by Tuesday's deadline. The White House says, President Obama himself enrolled in a Bronze plan while on Christmas vacation in Hawaii. 

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