Health care coverage deadline fast approaching

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The deadline is quickly approaching to sign up for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which many uninsured people won't get a chance for coverage until the end of the year.

There's an aggressive enrollment effort underway nationwide and on the first coast, including one at the Prime Osborn Convention Center in downtown Jacksonville on March 22. Organizers say this is your chance to get answers and coverage.

"Get Covered America" is a familiar slogan taking on a life of its own, and the number of people enrolled continues to grow.

Since open enrollment began on October 1, 2013, more than 5 million people nationwide have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

"The State of Florida has 3.9 million people who are uninsured," said Tony Penna, Regional Organizing Director for North Florida for Enroll America.

Penna leads a group that is working to chip away at that massive number. In Florida, more than 445,000 people have enrolled and so far in Duval County that number stands at 23,000.

Penna says the goal of Jacksonville's Get Covered event is to "guide people through the enrollment process."

"Our call volume has tripled, our visits to our navigator sites have skyrocketed," said Joyce Case Program Director for the Affordable Care Act Navigator Program.

Case, who is with the Health Planning Council, says it appears people are rushing to beat the March 31 deadline.

Florida's number of enrollees is the second highest in the nation, behind California. Case says she's heard the complaints, concerns and confusion.

Case says she'll be on-hand with dozens of navigators ready to share everything people need to know about the Affordable Care Act at the event. In addition, insurance companies will also be on hand.

"Don't wait! If you need health insurance come tomorrow we can help you," said Case.

The Jacksonville's Get Covered enrollment event at the Prime Osborn Center is from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.


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