Key health care deadline extended a day

The deadline to sign up for health insurance starting January 1 through federal or state insurance marketplaces was originally slated for December 23, but the Obama administration quietly extended that deadline a day until Christmas Eve.

President Obama announced last week that one million people have signed up for health insurance so far.

As many get ready to ring in a new year, many will also have to face a change in their health care.

Those who sign up for a plan through by Christmas Eve will be able to get coverage starting January 1.

Bob Schumacher is a self-employed forestry consultant, and he's been uninsured for the past two years.

"I'm just happy to have any coverage that's within the range of price that I'm willing to pay for a plan," Schumacher said.

He says he dropped his private insurance after it began to cost more than his house payment.

"By 2011, it had gotten this far and when you add up the premium and the deductible, my expenses basically quadrupled in eight years."

Even without a family or employees to cover, his monthly premium topped $750.

Schumacher says he didn't have a choice but to go without insurance.

Instead, he says he lived in worry, avoiding any situation that could put his health in jeopardy.

Even passing a car on the highway or working in the woods had a risk to consider.

"I'm just even more vigilant than I already was, because I know that i'm totally on my own when it comes to insurance. If something goes wrong, I'm paying for it out of my own pocket."

After a few months of trying to get through the website, Schumacher describes the process as a "nightmare."

But on December 15, he finally enrolled in a plan, more than a week before the original deadline of December 23.

"I qualify for a subsidy so i'm able to get that same plan for $370 a month," Schumacher said.

Add on a $6300 deductible, and Schumacher says he's still happy just to be insured.

"It's good to have that burden taken away and knowing that I can go see a doctor."

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


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