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Mar 27, 2014 9:43 PM by LiLi Tan, KSBY News

Healthcare deadline fast approaching

The deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is Monday, and millions of Californians still have yet to enroll.

Atascadero's Grant Miller, 30, has been uninsured for the past five years, and yet he has been putting off signing up.

"I'd heard about it several times but I just didn't do it when I was supposed to do it. At that moment, I was busy. I just need to get it done now," Millers said.

Unawareness is one of the reasons why millions of Californians have not enrolled as of yet. According to California's healthcare marketplace Covered California's most recent data, about 7.1 million Californians were uninsured. As of March 14, just over one million had signed up for insurance through Covered California.

"We have one of the highest uninsured rates in the country," said Frederick Aguilera, of Community Health Centers. "A lot of people still don't know. A lot of people don't understand it and have this ‘I give up' attitude."

Aguilera stresses there is no extension of the March 31 deadline. Those without insurance must start the process online by creating an online account and verifying their identity. They can then move forward and choose healthcare, or talk to a healthcare advocate to help them through the rest of the sign up process. As long as people have started the process, they have until April 15 to finish enrolling.

The penalty for an individual who does not start the process by Monday is $95 or 1 percent of their annual income, whichever is higher, according to Aguilera.

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West is holding a free enrollment fair on Saturday, March 29 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Atascadero Public Library, 6850 Morro Rd in Atascadero. Representatives of the healthcare union say anyone can come to ask questions and ask for guidance.

For a list of counselors who can help in-person, visit http://www.chpscc.org/health-coverage-covered-california.html

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