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Healthcare deadline approaches as website deals with glitches
PORT ARTHUR-By: Leslie Rangel
The deadline is approaching to sign up for a health insurance plan through the system that has become known as Obamacare.
If you don't sign up by 11 p.M. Central time tonight, your next opportunity will not come until November.
Experts believe about 700,000 Texans will enroll by tonight's deadline.
But, the website went down at least twice today, creating a roadblock for many people.
Today's the day, March 31st.
The deadline to sign up for health insurance.
At the Gulf Coast Health Center in Port Arthur, market place experts are working nonstop to get as many people signed up before it's too late.
"Today is really kind of crowded and busy," Huong Tran, an open enrollment specialist said.
If you don't sign up, there's a $95 dollar penalty, but glitches in the website are not making it easy to enroll and avoid the fee.
Cirilo Barron has no option but to wait. He wants insurance.
"I'm grateful for Obamacare so if my family and I need it we'll have the right benefits," Barron says in Spanish.
He's a Texas resident who came from Mexico to work here.
He's happy the marketplace option is available.
"Those of us that come from another country to work need medicine every now and then and it's difficult for us to travel to Mexico all the time to get healthcare," Barron said.
The deadline is supposed to hit tonight at 11 our time. The government says those who have begun the application process get an extension.
"I'm just praying for them you know, that's all I could say, just pray," Tran said.
Praying and waiting, she hopes it will get them through the maze of red tape.
"It means a longer life for me and less health problems," Barron said.
Even if he waits a few hours longer, Barron says he's one step closer to the dream of health care for his family.
Marketplace enrollment specialists suggest keeping your website up until it refreshes and continue calling the numbers to healthcare.gov until you get through.