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Health care deadline extended

CHAMPAIGN -- The first deadline to sign up for the Affordable Health Care program has been extended to Tuesday. But people were still having trouble with the website today.
CHAMPAIGN -- The first deadline to sign up for the Affordable Health Care program has been extended to Tuesday. But people were still having trouble with the website on Monday.

Many people say they've been spending the past few months researching their options. But when they tried to finalize their plans, they had to get in line.

Millions of Americans are hoping to get health care in the next few months. But a few road blocks stand in the way. 

With a lot to choose from in the health care market place, Marcia Deem says she spent a lot of time searching for the right option. But it wasn't easy.

"Several times, I wasn't able to get into the site because it was busy," said Deem.

So she came to the Frances Nelson Health Center. Deem thought this was her last chance before a midnight deadline. Champaign County Health Care Consumers executive director Claudia Lennhoff says even though this wasn't the last day, it was one of many very hectic days. And it won't be the last.

"If you don't sign up today, you still have time to sign up within the open enrollment period, which goes through March 31 of 2014," said Lennhoff.

She says even though the process can be frustrating, it's worth it.

"Don't give up," said Lennhoff. "This is really important. For the first time in our history in this country, people can get health insurance and if they have pre-existing conditions, it's not going to count against them."

Deem says she came to get more informed, but isn't sure she wants to sign up.

"We'll see if there's an answer for me today and hopefully something will work," said Deem.

So she, like many Americans, will take it from there.

If you want to sign up, you can do it by phone or online. The toll-free hotline for Get Covered Illinois is 866-311-1119. It is open on Monday night until 10 PM. More than 1,600 people called over the weekend. That's more than double the call volume from the previous weekend. If you can't get through to the hotline, you can try to get enrolled on the website. Click here for the link.
If you only need to apply for Medicaid, click here.

Lennhoff says she wasn't surprised to see the deadline extended. She says it's sort of like a safeguard so people wouldn't miss the opportunity because of website issues.

If you need help getting signed up, you can contact the groups below to get more information.

Champaign County Health Care Consumers
217-352-6533
44 E. Main Street #208
Champaign, IL 61820

Frances Nelson Health Center
217-403-5418
819 Bloomington Road
Champaign, IL 61820

PACE, Inc.
217-344-5433
1317 E. Florida Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801

Champaign County Regional Planning Commission
217-328-3313
1776 E. Washington Street
Urbana, IL 61802

C-U Public Health Department
217-352-7961
201 W. Kenyon Road
Champaign, IL 61820
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