Number of Last-Minute Health Coverage Sign-Ups Skyrockets - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Number of Last-Minute Health Coverage Sign-Ups Skyrockets

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As the March 31 deadline for uninsured people to getindividual coverage draws closer, UnityPoint Health Trinity said it's seeing amajor surge in last-minute signups.

Director of Revenue Cycle Amanda Crowell said UnityPointHealth Trinity is now seeing about 40 people signing up each day … up from the about12 people per day which she said was the norm before nearing the deadline.

As of the end of the dayWednesday, UnityPoint had 1,868individuals sign up in the expanded Medicaid or the exchange.

The uptick in sign-ups locallycorresponds with an increase the White House is seeing nationally. On Thursday,the White House reported more than 6 million people signed up for healthinsurance.

Even so, Crowell said she's concernedthere will still be many people who miss the deadline.

There's research to back up herconcern, too.

A new poll from the Kaiser FamilyFoundation found about 60 percent of uninsured Americans are unaware thedeadline to sign up for individual coverage is Monday.

As for why that could be, Crowell saidshe is not entirely sure.

"It might have something to do withthe complexity of healthcare," she said. "Many people don't have their ownhealthcare, so when they hear it on the news, they may tune it out. But it isimportant for them to know. And we've tried to push out in the community thatMarch 31 is the deadline."

People without coverage who don't getinsurance somehow will face a fine. But there are exceptions. Earlier thisweek, White House officials announced people who tried to sign-up before thedeadline, but were unable to for some reason will still be allowed to getcovered for 2014 after the deadline.

But Crowell is urging people to getcovered as soon as possible.

"You don't know what's going to happenin your life and it's very important you get insurance now," Crowell said. 

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