GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) – Sparks flew in all directions from the rear fender of a truck Rodney Munoz was customizing Friday in his Red Oak shop. “Knock on wood,” he said, he hasn’t slipped yet while working on it. There hasn’t been a problem in the paint bay either. Nothing has fallen on him. It’s a good thing too, since he’s been trying to build the business, and so far, health insurance hasn’t exactly been able to fit into the budget.
Munoz is one of an estimated 6-million plus people in Texas without coverage. Three days before the federal deadline to secure it, or potentially face a penalty, there are still questions from some of them wondering if it’s worth it. That’s if they know about it. Munoz admits, it wasn’t until a few days ago, he even knew there was a deadline.
“I’ve had a couple people stop by and talk to me about it,” he said. “I guess I never made time to really sit down and find out what it really all entailed. Just put it off, kept putting it off, you know.”
At a free sign-up session in Grand Prairie Friday night, the chairs in front of the middle school stage were maybe a quarter full. The small crowd still had questions, too before enrolling. What will I get? Can I afford it? What will the government do with my personal information?” That last question persisted from Latino residents,” said Marisela Jimenez. She helped set up the event with the Greater Grand Prairie Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She and others tried to assure people it was safe to sign up, and better than not being covered.
“It is mostly confusion,” said Tommy Chilcutt from American Health Underwriters, that has kept some people waiting until the last minute. He hasn’t heard the political arguments from people in weeks. They just simply don’t understand what they need to do, or how to do it. With publicity about the deadline increasing though? The number of people walking through Chilcutt’s downtown Fort Worth door has also increased.
It’s easy to find. It’s the one with the large, red Obamacare sign on the front of the building. “The last few weeks we’ve seen a tremendous uptick of people calling, coming in, and enrolling,” he said.
The business has tried to help customers navigate what he said can still be a tricky process. Some people in North Texas will end up on plans with their primary doctor located in San Antonio. Adult children have to figure out a way to cover their aging parents on the same plan.
He expects business to be steady through Monday, when people like Munoz finally decide to sign up. Maybe… “It’s a scary thing I guess sometimes if you don’t understand something.”
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