Millions Remain Uninsured As Affordable Care Act Deadline Approaches

Many unaware of March 31 enrollment deadline, poll shows.

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President Barack Obama 

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As the March 31 deadline to sign up for HealthCare.gov looms, millions of Americans remain uninsured, the Associated Press reports. The finding comes even as President Obama, scores of advocates and volunteers race to spread the word about the new health law.

Most of the uninsured do not know much about the law and its enrollment deadline for plans that could result in large discounts, the report says.

An Associated Press-GfK poll found that only one-quarter of uninsured people had tried to sign up through the state or federal insurance marketplaces, also known as exchanges, by late January, the report says. If they don't enroll in time, many will face a penalty at tax time and be prohibited from signing up for subsidized plans until next year.

But the complexities of the health law, whose official name is the Affordable Care Act, can confound even the most informed client.

New York tap dancer Jessica Wilt, 37, told the AP that she almost missed the boat. She said she lost her health coverage last summer after being laid off as education director of a small dance company, and recently avoided an emergency room bill by sealing a bad cut with a super glue.

Initially, Wilt said, she was eager to enroll in a marketplace plan but found that the monthly premiums were too high for a freelancer doing arts-related jobs. She decided to try again after the accountant doing her income taxes convinced her to do so. That’s when Wilt discovered that she had made an error in projecting her 2014 earnings and qualified for a much bigger subsidy, the report says.

"I'm feeling a little embarrassed that I interpreted things the wrong way the first time," Wilt told the AP. She signed up Friday for a midlevel "silver" plan for $150 a month, a price that reflects a $224 tax credit. "It just goes to show how confusing all this is."

Read more at the Associated Press.