As deadline looms, La Crosse residents sign up for health insura - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

As deadline looms, La Crosse residents sign up for health insurance

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – The deadlines to sign up for health insurance is looming and for some people, it's a scramble to get covered.

Feb. 15 is the last day to sign up for health insurance to have coverage by April 1.

The marketplace closes for the year March 31.

After that, people who are still uninsured have to pay a fee.

For Elizabeth Hundt there's one web site that's rather daunting. At least to her.

"I don't really know what to answer on certain questions because I've never been asked them before," Hundt said.

The 25-year-old is signing up for health insurance for the first time and is using Healthcare.gov to do so.

"I do have (Attention Deficit Disorder) and anxiety disorder where medications cost quite a bit," Hundt said.

Right now Hundt pays $110 a month for ADD medication and another $70 to $80 to treat her anxiety, all out of pocket. That total is with a Wisconsin ForwardHealth Card.

She hopes insurance can alleviate some of the pay out.

"I can't keep paying out like this, especially if I want to move forward myself," Hundt said.

People's concern is insurance will be too expensive, according to Certified Application Counselor Susan Silberschmidt.

"The way the web site is set up, the way the program is set up, is the lower the income, the higher the subsidies are," she said.

Silberschmidt's concern is that she hasn't seen enough people sign up.

"We've seen approximately 1,000 people... We anticipated higher numbers and we're still hoping to get people in," she added.

From the time the marketplace opened to the end of 2013, 40,752 individuals have signed up for a marketplace plan in Wisconsin, according to statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services. That's more than double Minnesota's total of 19,420 people.

"To me instantly I think, 'Oh another bill,'" Hundt said. "But when I actually think about it in the grand scheme of things, I'm going, 'No, I'm actually saving money.'"

Hundt is adding to Wisconsin's sign-up total, and hoping to save a little pocket-money while she's at it.

If a person does not sign up for health insurance by the March 31 deadline, he/she will have to pay a penalty in 2014 of one-percent of yearly household income -- the maximum penalty is the national average yearly premium for a bronze plan -- or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child under 18 -- the maximum penalty is $285. Whichever one is higher.

The fee increases every year a person is not covered.

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