GAINESVILLE – The deadline to sign up for ObamaCare is around the corner. More than six million people have already signed up while that’s short of the goal the Obama administration initially laid out. There is an extension for some people, however, deadlines are not clear. Here in North Central Florida, volunteers are helping raise those numbers.
“Well the problem really is that there are so many uninsured here in Gainesville and Alachua County,” Drew Aldrich with Get Covered America said. The affordable health care act is something many are talking about as the deadline to enroll is on March 31st. Charles Phillips from Gainesville isn’t just trying to avoid paying a fine for not signing up but he’s also trying to find the right plan that works for him.
“Looking at the news and seeing how the economy is going and catastrophes do happen… I just kind of brought up awareness to myself that I too can be in a situation where I won’t be covered if anything happens to me, so it’s best to get a jumpstart on it,” Phillips said.
He’s one of the 30 people that visited the Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Gainesville for help to sign up at no cost. Dave O’Malley, an organizer for Get Covered America said, “These events are important because for one thing, they show people that it is possible to get help for enrolling for insurance. It is complicated and many people will find it challenging to do it on their own. So there are many ways that people are able to enroll, they can come to an event like this and talk to a navigator… The navigators are also available at libraries and other locations throughout Gainesville.”
Aldrich said he is volunteering his time towards events like these in order to let people know about the resources available to them. “I mean I’ve been lucky enough to have health insurance my whole life and so when I moved to Gainesville I saw all my roommates and my friends who didn’t have insurance. It’s a really vital thing to have even for a kid my age,” Aldrich said.
Those who have at least started the enrollment process by Monday will get more time to finish enrolling. “For some people, a lot of the students and young adults, it’s not a big problem. But it can take quite a while for some of the older adults, I think,” O’Malley said.
If you have not had an opportunity to sign up, there will be another event on Sunday, March 30th at Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church (630 NW 2nd St. Gainesville, FL 32612) from 11am to 4pm. Participants can either walk in or make reservations.
For Spanish speaking families there will be a navigator at the Millhopper Branch library from 1pm-5pm Sunday, March 30th assisting those who still need to enroll.
Make sure to take the following:
-Social Security number/card
-W2 forms from last year or 4 pay stubs
-Driver’s icense or photo ID
-Current health insurance information/policy numbers