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Obamacare Deadline Fast Approaching

Monday is the deadline to be enrolled in a healthcare plan for it to be in place by January 1, the deadline laid out by the Affordable Care Act.
Application counselors are busy with people trying to get signed up before then.

"I'm not sure what all it covers, if it's going to be the right thing for me," said Monica Davis, who was meeting with a counselor at Central County Health Center in Springfield. "I'm going into it kind of blinded because I have no insurance, so I guess insurance is better than no insurance."

The counselors work to get people set up with insurance plans, or if they qualify, Medicaid.

"Most of the people we have helped have been on Medicaid," said counselor Meghan Calandro. "But I think part of that is just our location and our service base."

Recently it was discovered that 30,000 Illinoisans may have mistakenly been sent to Medicaid plans, and would now have to start over.

The only application counselors we found in Springfield who had seen this issue were at Family Guidance Center.

"We haven't had a lot of experience with inaccurate eligibility determinations," said FGC counselor Brandy Lee. "In the instance that that did happen in our office, we were able to catch it right away and correct it."

Chrystina Diedrich of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance has had several clients who lost their coverage due to the newer standards.

"The difference in policies, from what they are paying now, and aren't getting covered, compared to what they're offered, they're very happy with it," Diedrich said.

She has some advice for those who still haven't signed up for coverage.

"Not to panic, first of all," said Diedrich. "And when you are ready to sit down and get your insurance, know what kind of coverage you want, know which deductible you're willing to pay, and know how much of a premium you can afford, and that will help you be able to pick out the policy that you want."

The penalties for not having health insurance are $95 per adult, and $47.50 per child.

There is a three-month grace period, so plans don't actually have to be in place until March.