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Volunteers Make Final Health Care Enrollment Push

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Photo: Video by NewsChannel5.com

Volunteers Make Final Health Care Enrollment Push

CREATED Mar 28, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The hours keep dwindling. Monday night, this year's open enrollment for federally mandated health coverage will end. Now there's a final push to get people insured.

There are lots of activities at the Coleman Park Community Center on Thompson Lane, but Friday there was one you may not expect.

Jackie Shrago has become a master of multitasking.

"Somebody on the telephone, somebody on the computer, somebody else on another computer," the Get Covered Nashville volunteer said.

Shrago has been getting people enrolled on HealthCare.gov since its turbulent rollout last fall but even after 200 events a month, they're still busy now in the final stretch.

"We're now down to the end and we are having lots, lots of people," she said.

One of those people is, Abdiweli Hersi, who works seven days a week at a coffee shop and knows what it's like living without health insurance.

"It's my chance to get it," he said. "Right now I play soccer if I get injured in my legs I don't have anything benefit to cover for me."

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Nashville on Thursday to urge the hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans who still haven't signed up for health insurance to do so immediately.

Sebelius said even someone making $25,000 a year can afford it.

"Now you probably can't find a cell phone plan for a $104 per month. You may not be able to find a cable package for a $104 per month, but you could get full health security," she said.

This week President Obama announced six-million Americans have signed up for coverage so far.

The deadline is 11 p.m. Monday CST, or midnight Eastern time. Some people may be able to get new extensions announced just this week, but Shrago said it's better to get this done right now.

If you don't get enrolled you'll likely have to wait until next year to get insurance and possibly face a penalty come tax time.

That's why volunteers, like Shrago, won't get a break until Tuesday as they try to help the large number of Tennesseans trying to get enrolled while they still can.

"When you see that many people want it and need it, it's a good sign," Shrago said.

The group will hold free help sessions to get people enrolled throughout the weekend, including at the Main Library in downtown Nashville.

LINK: http://www.getcoveredtenn.org/event-calendar.html