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Open Enrollment's Final Hours

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) Since October 1st, people in Linn County have been signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. With Monday marking the end of the open enrollment period, the Linn County Community Partnership is in the middle of its final push to get people covered. After battling through website roll out glitches early on, that effort is down to its final hours.

With the clock ticking, Affordable Care Act Outreach Specialist Jeff Tourdot and other Certified Application Counselors are spending their weekend signing up as many people for health insurance as they can.

"We're encouraged that in this last week we enrolled over 250 people in either the marketplace exchange or Medicaid expansion, said Tourdot.

The people they meet with this weekend could be people like Eugene Pinney.

"I was uninsured since about May of last year, said Pinney.

Or Bob Pelletier.

"I was involved in a single vehicle motorcycles accident, said Pelletier.

Eugene lost his job and was uninsured until he worked with the Linn County Community Partnership to get signed up.

"I've had an emergency room visit since then and those bills come in and you're like, "Wow, that's four-months of premiums, said Pinney.

Bobs motorcycles accident last May was just two days after his private insurance had expired.

"The fact that there was a date on the card in my wallet was not at the top of my mind, said Pelletier.

He had help signing up for insurance to cover his $360,000 worth of medical bills even after his accident.

"I'm 60-years old, said Pelletier. There's no way I would live long enough to generate that kind of money."

Right now he thinks his plan will cover everything. Its success stories like Eugenes and Bobs that have Jeff going through the enrollment process one question at a time, as many times as possible, until open enrollment closes on Monday.

"People still have that apprehension but when they're walking out, they're saying, "Thank you so much for what you guys provide. We had no idea that we could get this coverage at the cost that we're getting it, said Tourdot.

Tourdot says with 8,000 people expected to be signed up in Linn county by the end of April, the efforts have well exceeded his expectations from the beginning of the process.
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