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Thursday, March 20, 2014 - Deadline Approaches for Affordable Care Act Sign-Up,
By Sujata Jain
WCSC Live 5 News

There are 12 days left to enroll for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, and if you are eligible and choose not sign-up, you will face a fine.

While the October roll-out of healthcare.gov wasn't a smooth one, the deadline to sign-up is almost here. Application counselors and navigators say the process is a long one with quite a bit of information to sift through. Roper St Francis, which held a community forum Wednesday, urges people to look at the all the coverage plans, which are broken up by county.

"For each county there are different insurance options,” explains Ashley Redmond, with Roper St. Francis. “They need to what health insurance plan they need to sign up for and make sure the physician they've been seeing is in network for that plan."

If you qualify for coverage and choose not to sign-up, the fine for this year is $95.

"That will go up over the next few years until ultimately the penalty is $695 or 2.5 percent of your income, whichever is greater if you do not have health insurance and do not sign up for health insurance,” says Robert Greenwald, a clinical law professor at Harvard Law School.

Greenwald says, politics aside, the Affordable Care Act is law and will be enforced.

"The Supreme Court has held it constitutional. It is the law of the land regardless of what we think, and so billions of dollars are being spent on healthcare."

Greenwald says the Internal Revenue Service will monitor the penalties. He predicts that, ultimately, the IRS will require proof of health insurance so that the penalty does not kick-in.

The deadline to enroll is March 31st.

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