Last Minute ACA Signups Overwhelm workers and system


POSTED: Monday, March 31, 2014 - 11:01pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 7:26am

Time is up! The enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace expired March 31st at midnight. Leading up to the deadline, Outreach & Enrollment Representative at the Brownsville Community Health Center’s New Horizon Clinic put in extra hours; the federal government even sent down extra manpower to assist last minute enrollees.

"We've been really busy for the last two weeks. We've been taking twelve hour shifts to be here, taking care of as many patients as we can, and I believe we have enrolled thousands and thousands of people here in Brownsville," said Outreach & Enrollment Representative Noe Flores.

NewsCenter 23 has followed Outreach & Enrollment Representatives at the clinic since the sign-up period began back on October first. Looking back, one word to describe the implementation of the Affordable Care Act…

"Challenging," said Flores.

He added the same problems that they encountered on day one still haunted them six months later.

"When the system is down and people aren't able to apply or when there's glitches and the system kicks you out, there's been a lot of that in the past two weeks," he said.

On the final day, strictly online enrollment, at least that is when they could sign on. Flores said they had to reschedule a number of appointments during times when the system was down.
Now if you started the enrollment process, but didn’t complete it, you may still be free from facing a penalty.

“The Health Insurance Marketplace has expanded the deadline for 15 more days for those people that need to finish enrollment. As long as you create an account with the marketplace and you have something open, you'll be able to go on and keep on with the process," said Flores.

He and other representatives will be at the Brownsville Community Health Center’s New Horizon clinic offering assistance and answering questions as people begin receiving their new insurance cards. If you’d like to speak with a representative from there you can contact them at 956-548-7400.

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