Midnight deadline for Affordable Care Act health insurance looms

Change in presidential administration prompts confusion

SAN ANTONIO – People who are planning to enroll for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act’s federal marketplace have until the end of Tuesday to do so.

Mario and Irene Gonzalez have been managing as best they can without health insurance. On Tuesday, they walked into the South Side Centro Med to sign up for coverage.

"She's had two strokes and a seizure, so she needs help in every way," Mario Gonzalez said about his wife.

With the clock ticking, assistance centers report a boost in traffic.

"We've had a lot of walk-ins, (people) asking questions, curious," said Melinda Abrego, outreach coordinator at the Health Insurance Marketplace at Westover Marketplace on Southwest Loop 410.

Gorgonia Hernandez was among the curious.

"I tried the one at work, but it's very expensive," she said.

Hernandez had private insurance, but went to a center to find out if she qualifies for subsidized coverage, how much it costs and what it covers.

Tuesday could also be the final enrollment day for coverage under President Obama's Affordable Care Act because President Donald Trump's administration has vowed to repeal and replace Obama's. 

More than 1.1 million Texans had enrolled by the end of 2016 for coverage this year. That includes new enrollees and those signing up again. Those enrolling now will begin to be covered March 1.

"This year, we've seen more confusion than ever about whether or not they should come in and sign up," said Ana Maria Garza Cortez, Centro Med vice president of marketing. "Some individuals think because of the new administration that this insurance is no longer in place."

The Affordable Care Act is still in place, meaning those without coverage for this year still face fines.

Assistance centers will remain open until 8 p.m. Tuesday to help answer questions and help consumers enroll.

For locations and more information, visit www.enrollsa.com.

To sign up for using the federal marketplace, visit  www.healthcare.gov.

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