Uninsured have seven days left to sign up for health insurance

MADISON (WITI) -- The uninsured have just seven days to sign up for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act. With the deadline looming, there is a big push to get people enrolled.

Four years ago, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. In one week, his signature achievement takes full effect -- and healthcare advocates in Wisconsin are sharing stories of the law's positive effects.

"People have to know that this is a critical week for them," Rep. Mandela Barnes (D-Milwaukee) said.

In 2009, retired small business owner Scott Trindl had a heart attack.

"They had never had a problem covering me up until then. All of a sudden I got a notice that they were going to cancel me as of the end of the next month," Trindl said.

Trindl was only able to find insurance in the state's high risk pool at a cost of $600 a month. Under the Affordable Care Act, he says he's saving at least $100 a month.

"Once you have a heart attack like that, it's a pre-existing condition you're going to have the rest of your life. Under the old system we had, I would have been forever barred from having health insurance. Now I'm not," Trindl said.

"We just want to make sure they know that the pressure's on. The time's counting down. You gotta pick something by next week," Kevin Kane with Citizen Action of Wisconsin said.

The only other way to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act for this year after March 31st is to have a "qualifying life event" -- like marriage, divorce, the birth or adoption of a child or the loss of a job.

While supporters of the law were wishing "Obamacare" a happy birthday, critics say there's no reason to celebrate.

"I think the fact that Obamacare just turned four and they still haven't figured it out yet, is a major problem," Nick Novac with the MacIver Institute said.

Novac points to the low enrollment numbers in Wisconsin. 47,000 people have signed up, but one in five of them have not paid.

"It definitely shows you that the law isn't popular, and it's clearly not working," Novak said.

Healthcare advocates are holding a number of enrollment and educational events in the area over the next week. CLICK HERE for details.