Siouxlanders race to meet the health care deadline - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Siouxlanders race to meet the health care deadline

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) - Becky Craven says she hasn't been to the doctor in five years.

"I don't go to the doctor, because I don't have the money,” said Craven.

Monday, at the Siouxland Community Health Center, doctors reminded patients that it's their last chance to sign up for health insurance or face a fine.

“Volume has been quite high since Friday,” noted Betsy Arce, the Siouxland Community Health Center’s Certified Application Counselor.

In the last six months, the health center has tried to help 2900 uninsured patients sign-up.

"It should be a one stop shop experience,” said Arce.

"If you can get all the way to the end, it will tell you what you're eligible for. It will tell you if you're eligible for tax credits,” she explained.

The website was slowed down by a surge in applicants, Monday. After a half hour, we still couldn't get in. However, many folks coming into the health center don't qualify for the federal health insurance market place.

“If you don't make enough money to apply through the marketplace to get tax credits, they will come back and say you need to apply for Medicaid in your state,” said Arce.

About half were able to sign up for the newly expanded Iowa Medicaid program instead.

"The other individuals either did not qualify, because the state of Nebraska and the state of South Dakota did not expand their programs. So, there were people who fell between the cracks,” Arce explained.

In fact, only 600 qualified for the marketplace. And only 150 of those patients actually signed up.

Arce:"A lot of people thought the penalty of 1% or $95 was worth the risk of taking,” she pointed out.

"I've had people I haven't seen in two to three years all of a sudden show up, because now finally they have health insurance,” said David Faldmo, a Physicians Assistant at the Siouxland Community Health Center.

Craven was able to skip healthcare.gov and signed up for Iowa's Medicaid program.

“Then I can go do the doctor when I'm sick,” said Craven excitedly.

She should hear back in 30 to 45 days and be back to the doctor’s office to take some important tests she's been putting off.

If you have Medicare or Medicaid you don't have to sign up at healthcare.gov.

You're only penalized if you don't have any insurance.

Those who start the process, but don't finish by midnight can go back in through April 7th.

The hotline to call is 1-800-318-2596.

If you don't have health insurance, you'll be fined when you file your taxes in 2015.

Arce said you’ll need their drivers license, social security number, pay stub, and last tax return.

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