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Many unsure of Obamacare coverage amidst last-minute rush

By Wyatt Andrews/CBS News 5:48 AM December 26, 2013

The surge of late signups is good for those patients who finally have insurance, but it is likely that the first few weeks of Obamacare will be confusing

The Obama Administration’s prediction that people would shop for insurance at the last minute is proving true in state after state.

In Washington State, of the 65,000 people who’ve bought private insurance through Obamacare so far, 20,000 of those enrolled last weekend. In Kentucky, enrollments rose by 5,000 in the last week. Connecticut enrolled 6,700 on Monday alone.

In California, an unprecedented 100,000 customers have signed up since Friday.

“There was a huge surge,” said Peter Lee, the Executive Director of Covered California, the state-run health care marketplace.

“We think the fact that in four days we had over 100,000 people enroll — as many as enrolled in 2 months — shows not just that people are getting the message, but that they’re spreading the message. They’re telling friends and family members, which I think is going to carry into January February and March.”

The last minute spike in enrollments now puts pressure on insurance companies to process hundreds of thousands of new customers in a very short time.

Karen Defnall, who runs a daycare in central Virginia, said she thought she enrolled last week, but has no confirmation from the insurance plan. She said she’s now concerned she won’t have proof of insurance when her coverage is supposed to begin next week.

“What if a need comes up? What if January 2, I have an injury and I have to go to the hospital? They’re going to ask for insurance verification, and I don’t have anything to give them,” she told CBS News.

“Will I be denied coverage? Will I be denied access?”

The surge of late signups is good for those patients who finally have insurance, but it is likely that the first few weeks of Obamacare will be confusing. Some patients who think they have insurance may not get insurance cards on time, and they’re afraid they might fall through the cracks.

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