The deadline to sign up with health insurance exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act and be covered on Jan. 1 is quickly approaching.
On Monday, President Barack Obama's administration extended the deadline one day, making the cutoff on Tuesday at midnight.
According to La Crosse Human Services, the traffic has picked up over the last couple of days. Certified application counselors have seen more and more people stopping in to get signed up just in time to have insurance at the beginning of the year.
Trish Wavra, with La Crosse Human Services, said that one-day extension could have an impact on people in the La Crosse area because everyone is starting to scramble to get signed up before the deadline.
Wavra said, “I believe if they can get the marketplace up and running and people through, then that will make a difference for the majority of people."
Although the health care website had a rocky beginning, Obama said it’s working. “Since Oct. 1, more than 1 million Americans have selected new health insurance plans through the federal and state marketplaces,” said Obama.
As many continue to sign up for health care insurance across the nation, Wisconsin is seeing an increase in numbers, too.
“We've seen a number of people come in and want to get through that application to make sure that they know they are going to have that insurance coverage as of Jan. 1,” said Wavra.
According to the Health Insurance Marketplace December Enrollment Report, between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30, more than 47,000 applications have been completely filled out in Wisconsin. As the deadline approaches Tuesday night, Wavra said the number could increase.
"All over our western region, we have certified application counselors....that are seeing people, scheduling appointments, seeing walk-ins and we have definitely seen the rate increase of people coming in and wanting to apply,” said Wavra.
However, for those who are not signing up for health care insurance until after the holidays, they will not be penalized.
Wavra said, “They have until March 31 to sign up. It's just when you want to get that coverage for health insurance and be covered under health insurance."
If you haven’t signed up yet, Wavra said you shouldn’t put it off too long. La Crosse Human Services will be holding a mass enrollment mid-January for all those who want help signing up. Everyone is invited, and there is no need to set up an appointment.