Harris County hosts last-minute help sessions for health care enrollment

More than 400 people receive one-on-one help to enroll

By Samantha Ptashkin - Reporter

HOUSTON - If you're planning to enroll for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, there isn't much time left. The deadline is midnight March 31, and this weekend last-minute help sessions are underway across Texas.

U.S. congressman Gene Green (D-29) hosted one of those sessions Saturday morning at the Harris County Department of Education.

Green said 261,000 of his constituents are uninsured, which is one of the highest rates of uninsured residents across the country.

"The whole point of the Affordable Care Act is so people don't have to make the emergency room their doctor," Green said. "They need to have a place where they can go when they're feeling sick, before they get sicker."

More than 400 self-proclaimed procrastinators showed up to the forum, where they received one-on-one help to enroll. It's a final push to get people covered after Healthcare.gov glitches prevented many people from signing up earlier.

"I did wait until the last minute," Bruce Brown said. "It wasn't my plan to do it."

If you're uninsured and don't sign up by the deadline, you will receive a penalty on your 2014 tax return. It's just another reason why many who showed up Saturday said they are happy to finally get it done.

"It's going to be great if I have some other insurance besides the Harris County Hospital District because with that you have to wait months and months to get special care," Brown said.

This week the Obama Administration announced people who have already started to apply for coverage but do not finish by the deadline will have until mid-April to sign up.

If you didn't have a chance to make it to Saturday's forum, there will be facilities open across Houston on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Those locations include:

--Denver Harbor Multi-Service Center at 6402 Market St.

--Acres Homes Multi-Service Center at 6719 West Montgomery Road

Copyright 2014 by Click2Houston.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.