Today’s deadline to apply for coverage under the Affordable Care Act could see a flood of last-minute enrollees, Augusta area navigators said.
The effort got a little easier when it was announced last week that those in the process of applying for coverage on Monday’s deadline would be allowed to complete the process after Monday. One official compared the effort to Election Day when voters in line when polls close are still allowed to vote. That’s the message navigators got last week, said Anne Fulcher, a certified application counselor with Rural Health Services Inc.
“It said if they were in the system and the application process had begun, then we could wait,” she said. Processing could be completed by April 15, Fulcher said. Craige Taylor-Burton said paper applications had to be postmarked by deadline.
“As long as they’re postmarked by the 31st, supposedly you should be fine,” said the enrollment specialist with Christ Community Health Services.
Even with wiggle room, based on last week’s volume, they expect to be busy . Christ Community was “slammed” last week with folks trying to beat the deadline, Taylor-Burton said.
“I’ve signed up multiple people per day, multiple people per hour,” he said. “We’ve just been going and calling people back because we get a high number of voice mails and we just want to make sure we are taking time to serve the people and tally up our numbers later.”
Fulcher said the two navigators at Rural Health having been working until dark every day.
“We work nonstop, no lunch, no nothing,” she said.
They expect to be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Taylor-Burton said both navigators at Christ Community have full schedules today.