Uninsured have until 11 p.m. March 31st to sign up for health insurance

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- It's "Deadline Day" for the uninsured to sign up for health insurance. If you want to sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act -- you have until 11:00 p.m. Monday, March 31st.

"This is a historic day in American history, in that it's the last day of open enrollment," Robert Kraig with Citizen Action of Wisconsin said.

In churches and in clinics in Milwaukee and around the country, healthcare advocates were eager to help the uninsured get signed up for health insurance in the final hours of open enrollment.

March 31st is the deadline to get coverage for 2014. If you don't sign up by 11:00 p.m. on March 31st, you won't be able to sign up again until November.

Healthcare.gov was overloaded on Monday, as people were signing up at the last-minute.

Thousands of people in Wisconsin -- and possibly more than a million nationwide could be granted enrollment extensions.

"If people start the process today, they're going to be able to finish it. They got into the waiting room, and they will be seen," Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Shorewood) said.

Wisconsin Democrats say the transition to the Affordable Care Act in Wisconsin will be more difficult because of Gov. Scott Walker's decision to decline millions in federal funding that would have paid to expand BadgerCare.

"I don't think it's good public policy," Gov. Walker said.

BadgerCare used to provide coverage to adults with children under 19, and incomes up to two times the poverty line.

Under Gov. Walker's changes, all adults -- even those without children are eligible, but the income requirement was tightened to at the poverty line or below.

The changes are important because it means thousands of people in Wisconsin are being moved off of BadgerCare and now have to find insurance via the federal health insurance exchange.

"Everyone living in poverty will be covered under Medicaid. Those living above it will be transitioned into the marketplace," Gov. Walker said.

"I'm very disappointed that the Governor has put people at 100 percent of poverty and forcing them to go on the exchange -- that's not how this was meant to be. That's not how it was developed," Rep. Pasch said.

Meeting the enrollment deadline means avoiding financial penalties on 2014 federal taxes.

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.