Health insurance deadline Tuesday night

The deadline to sign up for health insurance is Tuesday night.

That extension applies only to people who already started an application on the federal insurance marketplace, before the original deadline on March 31.

It's been half a year since Lashundra Burnam-Ellison started trying to buy an insurance plan through

"As you can see it says checked, application. That's done. The results, that's checked. Enrolled? Nothing," Burnam-Ellison said.

Dozens of attempts and error messages, multiple calls to the help center and one federal deadline extension later, she's still not covered.

"It's a very awful experience," she said. "I've been trying to get insurance, trying through the marketplace, filling out an application, calling on the phone, doing all the right things so I can save my money at the end of the year."

Those who aren't enrolled in a health plan after Tuesday's deadline will have to cough up a fine on their 2015 taxes.

But Burnam-Ellison says she needs the insurance, and shouldn't pay the price for problems with the website.

"I'm hoping they would extend it a little bit longer because you have glitches and you have errors. It's not like people aren't trying. But when you get so far, you're just stuck," she said.

After all, she already knows the plan she wants but gets locked out of the site when she tries to enroll.

She says the DirectSilver plan would cost her $150 in deductibles, $650 for co-insurance and about $53 in premiums per month.

"You go through the site and select an insurance plan, but as you can see, it's locked," she showed on her phone. "Without the subsidy, it'd be $300 dollars."

That's much better than the thousands she's paying out-of-pocket for medications and doctor visits now after losing Medicaid coverage in October.

"When I was on Medicaid, I paid $1-$2 for my medications," she said. "$1-2 for doctor visits. Maybe $3 to see my OB."

Racing against a ticking timetable, she says she's frustrated and just may have to accept defeat.

"It's just really difficult. It takes away from buying food, household stuff," she said.

Patty Brown with Heart of Georgia Insurance Brokers says in the weeks leading up to the March 31st deadline, her office was swamped with calls and walk-ins.

"Probably about 10 times the amount of activity we would normally have as far as walk-ins, appointments, phone calls, that sort of thing. We actually had to hire another person to help do the quoting and answer the phone calls," Brown said.

The Obama administration's original signup goal was seven million.

By the March 31st deadline, 7.1 million had signed up.

As of the last official update last week, the total had hit 7.5 million.

Those who don't have insurance will have to wait until open enrollment starts again on November 15th to buy a plan.

Exceptions will be made for qualifying life events like marriage, loss of job-based coverage or the birth of a child.

If you'd like to share your health care story or ask questions about the health care law, e-mail us at

Follow 13WMAZ's Anita Oh on Twitter @anita_oh and on Facebook at Anita Oh WMAZ.


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