Some Tampa Bay residents still signing up for health insurance

Some Tampa Bay residents still signing up for health insurance

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A day after the enrollment deadline, some Bay Area residents seeking insurance are still wading through the process. A day after the enrollment deadline, some Bay Area residents seeking insurance are still wading through the process.

A day after the enrollment deadline, some Bay Area residents seeking insurance are still wading through the process.

“The account is locked,” said Dalia Hashem as she tried again unsuccessfully to get into her account on healthcare.gov on Tuesday morning.

Hashem had shown up for help at an enrollment event Monday, but when website troubles cropped up mid-day, she wasn’t able to finish her sign-up. A try later in the day didn’t work, either.

But on Tuesday – during a visit to another enrollment office and with help from a Navigator who had to create a new email address for her – Hashem finally got through.

“I feel good,” said Hashem, 28, who has not had health insurance since 2009. “I feel much better and safer now that I know, ok, I can go get checked I can go to a doctor and see what’s gong on and feel better.”

With website issues on the last day and a promise from the government to let those "in line" finish their efforts to sign up, some people will still be making their final applications in the coming days.

Throughout the day on Monday, healthcare.gov displayed a busy message saying it had a lot of visitors and asking users to wait or submit an email address so someone could get back to them.

Navigators are still working this week, even though they originally expected their work to end with the enrollment deadline Monday.

“We are helping people finish the process,” said Erin Richards, a supervisor at a Tampa Palms office.

Those who had technical or website issues, started an application or even had trouble getting help from a Navigator at a busy site on Monday, can get more time. They must complete their sign-up by April 15.

Those who didn't even start and who don't have insurance through another source could face a penalty fee of $95 or 1 percent of their income, whichever is greater.

Copyright WFLA 2014. All rights reserved.


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