RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – There are just days left to sign up for insurance available through the Affordable Care Act and state officials are pushing North Carolina residents to enroll in Obamacare via the marketplace either online or at enrollment events because the sign up period has been shortened this year.
The clock is ticking and by Friday at midnight, you’ll no longer be able to sign up for the affordable care act for next year’s coverage.
This year, state officials say, a lot of folks were confused by what took place in Washington and thought Obamacare went away, but it hasn’t.
Debra Howard was one of those who went to an enrollment event in Raleigh Wednesday, held at the Alliance Medical Ministry. She was signing up for insurance for the first time.
She says having insurance was very important to her because, “I never had none. I came down from New Jersey and they don’t have insurance at most of these companies.”
She’s one of about 200,000 state residents who officials say are signing up via the marketplace, but those sign-ups are lagging behind last year.
“I am concerned,” says Dr, Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. “In these last few days, we need to see a lot of folks go to healthcare.gov to select their plan.”
Obamacare isn’t getting the exposure it once had. Here’s why.
- The Trump administration slashed the advertising budget for Obamacare by 90 percent.
- Funding for enrollment counselors who sign up consumers was cut by nearly in half.
- The enrollment period was cut from 90 days to 45 days.
Gov. Roy Cooper sent a letter to Washington asking to extend the enrollment period for North Carolinians by another week, but says people shouldn’t count on that happening.
A college student who signed up for healthcare via the marketplace said she was without insurance previously and without it her medical treatments almost bankrupted her.
“It’s impossible for me,” said Kayla Brown. “I don’t make enough to support my medical needs on my own. It was difficult.”
She said she also skipped going to the doctor when she should have because she couldn’t afford it.
On the private side, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina says premiums for 2018 will be going up an average of 14 percent for the half million it insures.
Although premiums are going up, state officials estimate 90 percent of those who apply for Obamacare privately or through the marketplace will get a subsidy.
Use this link to get to the quick-guide at Healthcare.gov which will then direct you to the proper area of the website.