Huge crowds gather at Affordable Care Act enrollment fair

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POSTED: Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 5:20pm

UPDATED: Monday, July 28, 2014 - 6:13am

Across the country, Obamacare enrollment is now past 5 million people.

But in the Valley, the numbers are not promising with thousands of people who still need to enroll.

This morning, Enroll America workers were stunned by the massive turn out for the Affordable Care Act enrollment fair.  Extra chairs constantly filled the McAllen Convention Center to accommodate the hundreds of people waiting to complete their enrollment and meet with a health insurance advisor.

But with so many valley residents still needing to sign up, the long lines are a positive sign.

"We know that we have the highest number of uninsured here in the Valley," said Jose Medrano with Enroll America.  "So we are doing everything we can to educate and engage today and for the next 12 days enroll them in the process."

Under the Affordable Care Act, Americans who do not have some form of health insurance after March 31st will face a penalty fine.  Congressman Ruben Hinojosa says this should persuade people to attend the enrollment fair if they still haven't signed up.

"Even if you don't buy it, if you enroll and come register and you show why you are unable to buy this insurance, at least you won't get that fine."

The Latino population makes up the largest demographic of people who are uninsured.  Hinojosa reminds Valley residents that even families with mixed status migration status should not be discouraged enrolling.

"No information will be used against the family in the event that one or more people are undocumented and others are," Hinojosa explained.  "And that's the case in our Rio Grande Valley."

The enrollment fair continues tomorrow from 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the McAllen Convention Center.

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