Memphians race to meet Obamacare deadline, face website glitches - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Memphians race to meet Obamacare deadline, face health care website glitches

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Crowds across the country rushed to get signed up on the last day of open enrollment for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. 

MORE: Trouble with ACA Sign-up extended to April

MORE: Website problems on Obamacare deadline day

Many found a crashed website and tied up phone lines when they tried to get help. 

"Frustrating, tired, frustrating," Monique Winters said of her experience. 

"Terrible, I've been sitting here for two hours and got nothing done," Tuwanta Burks added. 

Computer glitches, long lines, and on the phone for hours is how many spent their day trying to sign up for affordable healthcare. 

"It'll go up for a minute but then it'll shut down," Winters said of the www.healthcare.gov website.       

"We've seen a tremendous amount of traffic today and we're trying to help as many people as we can," SEEDCO Navigator Program Director Ellen Eubank said. 

Monique Winters says she spent five hours at the library trying to sign up, only to walk away empty-handed.  

"It's been very frustrating today, very frustrating, I even left work early to come," Winters said, "I've been trying to work on this since last night, and I haven't been able to get into the system last night on my own so that's why I came down here today." 

"The government just needs to get their system together if they want people to sign up for insurance without getting penalized," she added. 

Like Winters, others were kept waiting with no payoff. 

"I was on the computer trying to get online to create an account and the computer froze, the system froze, and it never did come back up to create an account, it just said it had a long wait, and I'd have to wait until it was available," Burks said. 

Despite the glitches, healthcare advocates were busy scheduling future appointments for those who couldn't get through the system.  

They tell us some were able to enroll today and others still have time. 

"If you at least got an application started, and got an account created and an application ID number and then ran into difficulty, you will at least have another two weeks until April 15th to finish the process," Eubank said. 

While many struck out this time, they're hoping they have better luck on the next try. 

"My plan is to go to my appointment tomorrow and try again to sign up and just keep trying tonight until up to 12 o'clock, if they don't work then I just have to go to my appointment tomorrow," Winters said.

If you started the sign-up process and were able to make an account and have an application ID number, you're safe for now. You have another two weeks until April 15th to sign up. 

If you haven't started yet and don't by midnight March 31st, you could face fees, in the amount of either one percent of your yearly income or $95, whichever is higher, or up to $285 for a family. Those fees will be collected when you file next year's taxes.

For those dealing with the glitches Monday, they're asked to call a federal hotline at 1-855-889-4325 to get a special extension.

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