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Many Wisconsinites still uninsured 2 weeks before deadline

By Mary Jo Ola, mola@wisctv.com
Published On: Mar 17 2014 08:12:42 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 18 2014 07:36:34 AM CDT

The deadline for most Americans to sign up for health insurance is two weeks away, yet many Wisconsinites have not yet enrolled.

MADISON, Wis. -

The deadline for most Americans to sign up for health insurance is two weeks away, yet many Wisconsinites have not yet enrolled.

LEARN MORE ABOUT WISC-TV'S AFFORDABLE CARE ACT PHONE BANK

Amanda Hall, an attorney, tutor and coach in the Madison area, did not allow herself to procrastinate on obtaining health insurance.

Hall was once on BadgerCare but began shopping around for other coverage options last summer before the online marketplace was running.

"[I] compared various premiums from various websites and various companies, and it was absolutely cost prohibitive," Hall said about her experience.

Hall described herself as active in rowing, running and doing Crossfit. She said she was not worried about her health, but wanted to be prepared.

After the online marketplace launched, Hall said she shopped it twice, and it revealed BadgerCare was her best option. She said the website made it easy for her to look at all of her options at once.

The online marketplace will screen consumers for BadgerCare while also producing a variety of health insurance plans.

"It's very important. I think young adults, they do think they're invincible, and they're not thinking about the fact they could be on a ski trip and they could break a leg and suddenly have thousands and thousands of hospital bills," said Molly Bandt, director of Covering Kids and Families, a group helping people understand the Affordable Care Act.

Many Wisconsinites have yet to sign up ahead of the March 31 deadline, and most people who do not meet the deadline may be subject to a fine.

Bandt emphasized when it comes to health care, financial assistance is available.

"Eighty percent nationwide and it's around 88 percent in Wisconsin of people purchasing in the marketplace qualify for some level of financial assistance," Bandt said.

Two weeks until the official deadline, Bandt and Hall are encouraging people who have yet to sign up to act.

"You may qualify for financial assistance, so don't be discouraged if you think you can't afford this. Don’t be discouraged if you think this can be confusing because it can be confusing, fortunately there's help out there," Bandt said.

"Because all it takes is one other person not paying attention or one little accident," said Hall when asked why health insurance was important to her.

Tuesday March 18 WISC-TV will hold a phone bank with local experts from 3-7 p.m. to explain how the Affordable Care Act works and how to apply for coverage. Viewers can submit questions on online.

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