HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Health Care Act is midnight Sunday. And the Hawaii Health Connector tried to help as many people beat that deadline.
The Health Connector began several "Open 'Til Midnight" events around the state Sunday. The event started at noon at the State Capitol, with other events in Waianae, Kahului and Hilo.
The events gave people a chance to enroll with someone face to face. "Which means a lot, I think, to people who actually like to sit across from someone and actually talk through what their options are, get a better understanding of what it means to have health insurance coverage," said Meredith Nichols, who directs the Connector's Hi`i Ola Program.
Steve Singer came to the Capitol event to help is 19-year-old niece, Everly Love, get coverage. "We just heard yesterday in fact that today they're going to be here 'til midnight. And we said, okay, last chance."
"I personally would like to go to the doctor when I need to. And I I need to be sure that I can afford it," said Love.
The two were also there because they were a bit frustrated. They had received information in the mail, but ran into a roadblock when they tried to reach the Health Connector call center.
"We've tried to call in to the Hawaii Health Connector and we've had great difficulty connecting," said Singer. "We're always put on hold forever, it seemed like."
Just last Friday, the Health Connector Web site bogged down after an influx of people visited it in an attempt to enroll. A spokeswoman said the problem was fixed after technicians reset the site.
Even though the Connector has had its problems, organizers said more than 21,000 have enrolled in Hawaii, compared to just 9,500 last year.
Anyone who misses the midnight deadline will face a $325 tax penalty. The next open enrollment period begins in October.