Local agencies help in last-minute rush to enroll in Obamacare

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

The White House said six million people have signed up for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, before the Monday deadline.
 
Carolina Ramirez understands the importance of having access to healthcare. She gave birth to her daughter at just 5 1/2 months, who went from weighing a pound to a thriving healthy baby Friday.
 
The stay-at-home mom and her self-employed husband don't have health insurance.
The couple recently moved and applied for Medicaid.  They are still waiting to find out if their application has been processed.
 
While they wait, Ramirez just realized her family could miss the deadline to apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
 
"Since the deadline is Monday, I just don't want to wait anymore.  I think I am going to do what I need to do to apply for it.  I just don't want to be left without any insurance,” Ramirez said.
 
Katie Benston is the chief program officer for the nonprofit Care Ring, which helps uninsured and underinsured people get access to healthcare.
 
The agency has been working to get people enrolled in Obamacare and fielding lots of calls in the last few days.
 
"There's a high volume and that's sometimes what happens when we wait until the end like this,” Benston said.
 
Benston said many people still don't realize they are now required by law to have health coverage while others have held off because they don't think they can afford it.
Her staff is working to educate people on their options and encouraging them to apply immediately.
 
"Go on in the middle of the night if you have to , but try to get your account and get your family covered," Benston said.
 
Those who have started the application process by Monday will be given more time to complete the process and can avoid penalties.  
 
You can sign up for health care by clicking here.