People scramble as insurance deadline draws near - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

People scramble as insurance deadline draws near

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News)- More than 6-million people have signed up for health insurance through themarketplace, and time is running out before the penalty period begins.  But with only one-day left of open enrollment,some are scrambling to get all their paper work in and get covered. 

Brian Wright is57-years-old and he works two jobs. He works part-time for Vantage Healthcareand full-time as a chef at the Lotus Club. But even with two jobs, and onebeing with an insurance provider, he still doesn't qualify for health coverageas an employee.

Wright has been paying outof pocket, but decided to switch to Vantage using the exchange. He is now inthe process of becoming insured.

"Itwas a better deal, more affordable," Wright said.  

Wright said his oldinsurance expired in January. Since then, Wright has had to go to the hospitaland after that experience he said he'll never go without insurance again.

"Without insurance they will turn you away...Thathappened to me," Wright said.  

Wright was referred toUniversity Health Conway and he now has a $900 medical bill.

For those who don't startthe enrollment process before March 31, the penalties could become costly.

"It will be a $95 penalty.The second and third year, that penalty will increase and it is based on anindividual adult penalty as well as each child penalty," Melanie Rawls,with Humana One Health Insurance said.  

Even though Wright won'tfinish the enrollment process for a few more days, he said his new insurancewill be $50 cheaper than his last health plan.

Recently the enrollmentperiod was extended, but that only applies to people like Wright, who'vestarted the process, just haven't completed it yet.

Wright's happy to not bepenalized, but more excited about not being turned away anymore. 

Again, the latestextension means those who've already began to enroll have until mid-April tofinish without being fined. But if you have not started the process, you've gotonly one more day.

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