Obamacare deadline looms for millions

WASHINGTON - It was four years ago Monday that President Barack Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act, perhaps better known as "Obamacare."

The president's signature achievement is still a source of controversy but on NewsChannel 5's Mike Bush's trip to the White House we learned that enrollment appears to be surging as next week's signup deadline approaches. The push is on to get Americans insured under the Affordable Care Act before this year's signup window closes on March 31.

"A lot of people are going to be surprised to find out that the coverage is more affordable than they think it is," said Cecilia Munoz.

Munoz is the director the president's Domestic Policy Council. She says more than 5 million Americans have signed up through the online state and federal marketplaces.

"As of March 1, more than 74,000 Missourians have signed up. More than 113,000 in Illinois," said Munoz.

"Our message to everyone in the state of Missouri is that you should find out what is available to you," said Munoz.

Missouri is one of the states where there will be a coverage gap for nearly 200,000 people.

"There is some number of people in the state because the state didn't take up Medicaid expansion who will find that there aren't affordable options for them. They won't be penalized in any way," said Munoz.

Others though, who don't sign up by the deadline, could be facing fines. With time running out, people still have questions like this one we received by email.

Bush: "From a lady named Amanda, she wants to know if you currently have health coverage but have a change of employment will you be able to enroll?"

"If your employer provides you with health coverage than you don't need to enroll because you are covered. If you are in a work situation where you don't have coverage you can enroll today," said Munoz.

Munoz says anyone who starts the signup process before the March 31 deadline will be allowed to complete it and purchase coverage.

White House advisers believe that approximately 6 million people will be signed up before March 31, more than enough to make Obamacare sustainable.


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