MIAMI (CBSMiami) — U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius visited South Florida on Saturday to help kick off an event meant to help those wanting to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
The government is expecting a surge of last minute visitors to healthcare.gov, toll free number and a number of locations in the South Florida area as Monday night’s deadline to sign up is getting closer.
The sign up event called “Souls To Enroll,” was held at the Mount Sinai Missionary Church in Miami.
“I needed it because I have a lot of back injuries so this is a great help for me,” said Miami resident Eddie Diaz.
Navigators were on hand to help South Floridians enroll in a health insurance policy as mandated under the Affordable Care Act because time is running out.
“Monday at midnight is the deadline and that they need to come and find an event here throughout the Miami area or call the toll free hotline or come to the website to see what is available,” said Sebelius.
Health and Human Services said 23-percent of Floridians don’t have health insurance and that includes a little more than half a million people who live in the Health and Human Services area.
“This law presents some affordable available options…they can join the 6 million folks who have already signed up and found affordable plans,” said Sebelius.
“It’s important for my health. If I get hurt or injured at work or something, I have something to back me up,” said Miami resident Guillermo Cortez.
The secretary said a family of four with a 50-thousand dollar household annual income, with a tax credit, can find a full plan for as little as $72 a month.
“We don’t want people to miss the opportunity. If you do miss it, open enrollment doesn’t start again until November of next year for coverage that begins in 2015,” said Sebelius.
For those wanting to sign up in person, with the help of a navigator, make sure you are prepared.
“Know their social security number, their income of 2014, any citizenship or residency,” said Odalys Arevalo of Sunshine Life & Health Advisors.
Sebelius said they’re treating sign-up like voting on election Day. If you’re in line or in the middle of the process when the deadline is up, they’re not going to cut off. Those who started will be allowed to continue the sign-up, in what she calls a “customer friendly” effort.