Library helps people with healthcare deadline - DatelineCarolina

Richland County Library helps people meet healthcare deadline

A man waits in line to receive a call up number from the front desk at Richland County Library. A man waits in line to receive a call up number from the front desk at Richland County Library.

By:  Chris Stanley

Wednesday was the very last day you could sign up for healthcare under the affordable care act without having to pay a federal penalty.

People all over the country, including Columbia, were out in droves yesterday trying to make sure they weren't paying fines come April. Former USC student Brittany Grander was one of those out in a hurry to sign up, simply because she didn't know how.

"Picking which plan is the right plan for me is very difficult because there's a bunch of plans with different deductibles and so I don't understand any of that," Gardner said. 

Gardner isn't the only one. The Richland County Library has been offering navigation assistance for the past two months for people who also couldn't understand the ins and outs of The Library had no idea this many people would come out and need help, and quite frankly they've been running into some problems of their own.

"We have seen especially in the past couple of days a lot of web site crashes or slowing down… the 1-800 number has an really long hold time and just today they stopped taking calls," said Lee PAtterson, head of the library's community affairs office.  

Patterson is in charge of making sure everyone is taken care of and comfortable while waiting to be seated at a computer desk for navigation help. But not even free snacks and a showing of the Muppets would help salivate the difficulty propel like Gardner continued to have.

"It's like you have to be with in this certain bracket to qualify for certain healthcare plans… they only give the ones that you qualify for so you can't even see all of them," Gardner said.

IF you have already signed up but did not complete the whole process, you still have until April 15th to complete your entire application.


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