Last minute rush to sign up for ACA Healthcare Insurance

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A Via Christi ACA Healthcare Navigator helps a Kansan by phone to enroll in the Healthcare Marketplace Exchange. A Via Christi ACA Healthcare Navigator helps a Kansan by phone to enroll in the Healthcare Marketplace Exchange.
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

The number of Kansans signing up for Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance, also known as Obamacare, is down from this time last year and time is running out.  The deadline to get the government discounted health insurance for next year is this Saturday, December 15th.

"It's been slow... steady," says Lyndsey Korkki an ACA Healthcare Navigator at Via Christi.  

  • Via Christi Navigators 316-689-5700
  • Other Navigators 
  • Healthcare Marketplace Exchange 1-800-318-2596

Korkki is part of a team working to make sure Kansans find the right insurance coverage at the right price on the state's health care marketplace.

"It gets away from people," she says about folks signing up last minute.

This year they've left it later than usual, or are just choosing not to sign up.  To date 7,327 fewer Kansans have signed up than at this time last year. that's a decrease of 13.8%.  The slowdown in Kansas is part of a national drop of 545,929, or 11.7%, of Americans signing up.  And there are only two more days left.

Korkki says once news stories started highlighting how close the deadline is phone calls, walk-ins, and appointments for help started picking up.  So busy they're asking you to make an appointment before coming in now.  Calls to the marketplace exchange are experiencing at least a 20 minute hold time.

With little publicity and a shortened enrollment period this year, she says many Kansans didn't realize the deadline was so close. 

"Once people know, are reminded, that...the end of open enrollment is coming up then they realize that they need to get it done," she said.

Plus, she says, enrollment always picks up toward the end of the sign-up period.  Last year 46% of Kansans who signed up did so in the last five days of enrollment.  This year, again, we're down to just two days.

Korkki says there are also some Kansans who feel the whole process is just too complicated.

"Not knowing that this is available," she says, referring to the aid her team offers.  "Also, people being in rural communities that don't have the transportation or the time to get here."

She and her team answer questions and help guide Kansans through the sign-up process.  A process, Korkki says, that is worth the difficulty.

"Huge impacts," she says.  "I've seen people come in who will typically spend $2000 a month for a family of three.  And then they get insurance with the marketplace exchange and it's $15."

Which is why even though federal law no longer fines Kansans who don't get insurance, she says it's worth the time and effort to check out the marketplace.

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