Affordable Care Act deadline approaches quickly

There are only a few days left to sign up for healthcare through the Affordable Care Act before having to face a penalty. More than 6 million people have signed up already, but some are still making excuses.

"They just put it off," said Anne Fulcher of Rural Health Services, who has been assisting anyone that comes in to fill out the online forms. "'Well we're just deciding now.' 'I'm sorry I waited until the last minute.' 'I just didn't think about it.'"

Regardless of the excuse, the deadline to enroll for healthcare through the Affordable Care Act is March 31 and those at Rural Health Services are feeling the effects of the last-minute filers.

"The phones don't stop ringing. We don't get out of our office. We don't get lunch and we're working 8 to 8 this week," Fulcher laughed.

But helping people navigate through the healthcare web site has been rewarding for her.

"I enrolled almost 200 young people under the age of 35 and every single one of them qualified," Fulcher said. "That's pretty amazing because that's putting a spark into the young people who the Affordable Care Act was afraid they wouldn't be able to reach."

If you haven't filed, Fulcher said the process can be simple or time-consuming depending on the number of dependents.

"If I'm doing somebody that's pretty cut and dry, it usually takes about 20 minutes," Fulcher said. "Obviously the more people involved, the more complicated, the longer it takes."

If you're worried about the glitches that once plagued the healthcare website in the beginning, Fulcher said not to worry.

"They are few and far between, every now and then," Fulcher said about the glitches. "I can tell when it's noon our time because the west coast is coming online and the system just gets slow."

Fulcher said that if a person creates an account before the March 31 deadline, they have until April 15 to finish the application process, but they have to create the account before then.

If you need help, the Rural Health Services in Clearwater, S.C. can help you. Their address is below.

Rural Health Services

Margaret J. Weston Health Centers

4645 Augusta Road

Clearwater, SC 29822


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