LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - With the deadline to sign up for health insurance through the federal exchange website approaching, a new survey suggest that more Americans are becoming insured.
According to the Gallup Survey, since last year, the number of uninsured Americans has dropped by 2.5 million. Sandy Brekke, clinic director of St. Claire Health Mission, said a lot of her clients are experiencing health care coverage for the first time in many years.
"As long as there is a community need, the clinic will stay here," said Brekke.
For 20 years, Brekke has dedicated her life to helping those less fortunate.
"We see people who fall at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty line and don't have access to insurance and can't afford to see a doctor otherwise," said Brekke.
But with the Affordable Care Act, many are finally getting the chance to be covered.
"We know that a lot of our patients starting April first will have health insurance," said Brekke.
However, not everyone is taking advantage of it.
"There's a lot of people still today who are coming in and haven't heard of it or have no idea how it might impact or benefit them," said Brekke.
"A trend that we've seen is we're not quiet getting to the people who are 34 and under, the young invincibles, have yet to sign up," said Michael Richards, director of external affairs at Gunderson Health System.
It can be troublesome because in order to keep health care costs down, a large number of exchange enrollees need to be younger.
"I think the barrier is, 'Why should I buy a product that I might not need?' I think that's their mindset and all it takes is one accident or one major illness and you're looking at a long-term financial issue," said Richards.
So it pays to look into it now, especially with all the help available.
"Every night that the clinic is open and during the days as well, we have certified counselors here who will sit down with people and go through the sign up with them and help them determine what program would be best for them," said Brekke.
Brekke said as they help more and more people sign up for health insurance, it brings her one step closer to her final goal.
"If there is no longer a community need, we will shut our doors. It has been our goal since we started, to close our door because people had access to healthcare," said Brekke.
If you want healthcare coverage by April 1, the deadline to sign up is March 15. Otherwise, open enrollment for health care insurance closes at the end of March. If you don't purchase health care insurance by the end of the month, you are going to have to wait until open enrollment begins for coverage in 2015.
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