We're now less than two weeks from the deadline to apply for health insurance under Obamacare, and local groups which are helping people enroll plan a full court press to finish strong, with longer hours of operation, and more navigators and other assistance in signing up, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Dr. Virginia Mika heads University Health System's CareLink, and she has been busy since October first when enrollment started, getting the word out about Obamacare. The UHS has a huge interest in getting as many people enrolled as possible, because the more people who have health insurance, the less taxpayer-funded care University Hospital will have to provide.
"I think some of the barriers that we have seen have been a lack of information, a lack of knowledge about what is out there, and the cost," she said.
Mika says one big challenge to getting people signed up is unfamiliarity over health care terminology. She says people who have never had health coverage don't automatically understand words like 'co-pay' or 'deductible,' so it frequently takes them loger to get up to speed on health insurance.
"I believe that for most people they definitely see the value of insurance, it is just a matter of making sure they have the budget to cover everything that's needed," she said.
An estimated 600,000 people in Bexar County were without health insurance going into the ACA sign up period, but about 200,000 of those are undocumented immigrants, who are not eligible for the program.
The deadline to sign up is March 31, and after that people without health care will have to pay a tax penalty, which is something else that navigators are pointing out.