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Many Seek Affordable Care Act Help As March 31 Deadline Looms

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – There is less than a month left to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act with the 2014 open enrollment coming to a close on March 31.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – There is less than a month left to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act with the 2014 open enrollment coming to a close on March 31.

Mercy counselors were busy Monday afternoon helping people seeking last-minute help.

Dozens of people signed up at a Mercy event over the weekend. Nearly 60,000 people have signed up in Missouri.

Health care worker Diana Springer has been without insurance since December.

"I did have insurance with the company I work for and, of course, with this new insurance thing it's no longer available for me,” says Springer.

Springer says she has not had major health issues but being a mom makes this a priority.

"I mean, I'm a pretty healthy person, but I am getting up there in the age bracket,” she says.

The payment she got when she filled out the online form herself was not affordable.

"That's half my income,” Springer says. “And I've got two children at home that I raise; a 16-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old son. I wouldn't be able to afford my home, my utilities, cable, insurance, internet, if I were to pay that amount o f money"

Mercy's Georgia Cable says Springer isn't alone in needing help or in coming in near the deadline.

"I'd compare it to, maybe, filing your taxes,” says Cable. “It's something you can do on your own, but if you have someone who has experienced the process sometimes it can go a little more quickly."

Under the Affordable Care Act, people without insurance may have to pay up when they turn in their taxes.

"There will be penalties if people do not select a plan,” says Cable.

If you don't sign up for health insurance or don't have health insurance, you can be penalized under something called the individual responsibility payment.

That is 1 percent of your income or $95 per person for the year and half that for a child under 18.

The maximum penalty per family is $285.

The next important deadlines include:
  • March 31 - the end of open enrollment
  • November 15 - the proposed date for the begin of open enrollment for November 2015
  • January 15 - the proposed end for open enrollment for 2015

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