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Alaskans scramble to meet Obamacare deadline

By Alexis Fernandez 9:07 PM March 31, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

Trista Bookout was one of many Alaskans signing up for health insurance on healthcare.gov Monday.

“I kept hearing that there were glitches and things weren’t working, so I just kind of waited,” she said.

Bookout says she had temporary health insurance with her work, but that will soon be gone.

“I got really sick because I didn’t have health insurance and didn’t go to the doctor and my diabetes was so bad,” Bookout said. “You know, I got lucky, I’m OK now. I’m at that point where I can’t not go.”

Luckily for Bookout, the enrollment process was smooth and she qualified for a plan at no cost on the marketplace.

She was just one of dozens who went to the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center to get enrolled.

“This day is very similar to what we saw both Saturday and Friday that hasn’t let up — there were people here at 8 o’clock this morning,” said Cassandra Maurer with Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center.

But the process hasn’t been going smooth for everyone. With millions of Americans trying to use the website, nationwide computer issues were felt across the country, including right here in Anchorage.

“We have quite a few people that are feeling very frustrated and kind of overwhelmed by everything,” Maurer said.

She says even though the deadline has passed, you might have some extra time.

If you started an application and ran into problems, you’ll likely be granted an extension until mid-April.

Paper applications will be accepted until April 7.

“At the very least start an account today and get their name and number in there, so that they can log back in there after today and continue their enrollment process,” she continued.

The White House expects to reach its goal of seven million Americans by the Monday midnight deadline.

If you missed the deadline, you won’t be able to sign up for plans until November. That’s if you want to take advantage of subsidies.

If you’re uninsured, you could also face a fine of $95 or one percent of your income, whichever is greater.

That fee will be assessed when you file income taxes in 2015.

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