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Time is ticking. The deadline to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is Monday. If you miss the date, you will get hit with a fine.
Last minute enrollment fairs were held over the weekend. Saturday, one at Drake State in Huntsville walked people through the signup process. Those who miss the deadline will be fined, but officials said if you have at least started the signup process by Monday, you will be given time and help to get it.
"We've seen a lot more folks that are trying to kind of beat the deadline," said Certified Application Councilor Russ Barnwell. "The thing about the deadline though is that although the open enrollment deadline is March 31, if you've made a good faith effort, you have through April 15 to finish the enrollment process."
Some call heathcare a safety net, others call it the government overstepping their boundaries, but no matter what you think, the deadline to signup is near, and if you don't, be prepared for more than a slap on the wrist.
The penalty starts out lenient, less than $100 a year per person, but by 2016, you'll be forced to pay nearly $700 a year per adult in your family. Some argue the penalty is still less than the cost of healthcare for your family, but that's only if you never see the doctor, fill prescriptions, or have an emergency to pay for.
"I don't see why people try to brush it off, because you know you need health insurance," said Shankundula Sanders. "Whenever you get sick real bad, and there's nothing you can do about it. You go to the hospital, and they bill you this big ol' bill. Then what you going to do?"
If Monday sneaks up on you, or you are still having problems with the heathcare.gov website. The Obama administration said you will have a bit of extra time. Anyone who begins the process will be granted a short extension.
"Setting up an account online and at least getting started, you have until April 15," said Barnwell.
To get the extension, you will have to check a little blue box on the website, indicating you tried to enroll prior to the deadline. The method, however, will rely on the honor system.