Deadline nears for Affordable Care Act enrollees

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Monday is the last day to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, and during a final push to get people enrolled, glitches in the system again held up the process.

Monday, healthcare.gov was unavailable because of maintenance, but was restored by 9 a.m. Around 1:15 p.m., the government announced new applications weren’t being accepted because of an issue with the website. Officials said a “fix” was in the works and it was restored by 1:30 p.m.

Celebrate Healthcare President Gaylene Kanoyton told WAVY.com, once healthcare navigators got through it however, “the success stories have been phenomenal.”

One such story is that of Victor Jackson, of Hampton. “The doctor told me I may have, you know, not long to live,” he said.

Jackson’s insurance premiums soared from $150 dollars to nearly $700 a month after he was diagnosed with an intestinal disease. He will now pay just $100 a month for coverage.

“This is saving my life and my children’s father, hopefully I’ll be able to see them have a wife and kids,” he said.

But not everyone is as fortunate as Jackson. There are still an estimated 400,000 Virginians who cannot get health insurance, and 30,000 of those reside in Norfolk alone. Those folks cannot afford “affordable healthcare” because they don’t make enough money and they don’t qualify for Medicaid.

State Sen. Mamie Locke told 10 On Your Side, “what Medicaid expansion would do is close the coverage gap.”

Two Healthcare Enrollment events in Hampton Roads — one in Hampton and another in Norfolk — were organized to help local residents get coverage. Locke, State Sen. Louise Lucas and Delegate Lionell Spruill showed up at the Norfolk event to let those left out know they are still working to get them covered.

“Well, we’re very hopeful that it will be a remedy to this by the time we get done with the special session,” Lucas said.

House Republicans are holding out, saying you can’t count on the Federal Government to continue paying for the expansion. The Affordable Healthcare program depends on this expansion, but the Supreme Court said states can opt out. That puts the future of Obamacare in limbo.

The deadline to sign up is midnight.

The Enrollfest is going on until 7 p.m. at the Norview Community Center in Norfolk.

You can also apply on your own healthcare.govwww.enroll-virginia.com or by calling 1-800-318-2596 or  888-392-5132 in Virginia.

If you start the application before midnight, you will be allowed to finish later with no penalties. If you tried to sign up before the deadline, but encountered glitches, an extension will be given into April. However that exact date hos not been set yet.

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