Today is deadline day to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Last minute applicants created heavy traffic for the Website healthcare.gov but that did not slow some Central Texans from signing up.
Inside Highland Mall more than 100 people lined up Monday morning. They all waited to sign up for a health insurance plan and to meet with Insure Central Texas volunteers. The volunteers set up at a dozen stations to help walk people through the sign up process.
"People are pouring in every minute," explained Elizabeth Colvin, who serves as the director of Insure Central Texas.
The non-profit opened up inside the mall back in October to help enroll people. As of last week Colvin says volunteers have helped 4,000 people enroll. More precise numbers will be available after April 7th.
Colvin expects to help more than 200 people Monday.
Even though March 31st is the deadline to enroll in a plan a small grace period will be granted for people who have already registered but may not have selected specific plans.
Shemecka Brite was one of the first in line Monday. She's 33 years old, in between jobs and without health insurance.
"There are a lot of people out there with a lot of health conditions and I'm one of them. I suffer from hyper tension and needing insurance is very important," said Brite.
Michael O'Conner, 48, knows he put off signing up until the last minute. He's self-employed and an expensive plan isn't in his budget.
"Since there were so many people I got myself into the system which allows me a few more days past the deadline. I'll come back when it's not as crowded," said O'Conner.
He's not alone. Some people left Monday with specific plans but for the most part Colvin says people were only able to register due to the demand on the website.
"We have had some challenges with the website and the login feature. We're trying to create accounts and it's not recognizing some of those accounts but hopefully that will smooth over quickly," said Colvin.
Some users saw messages about be traffic volume on the website.
Colvin says those people who have not picked plans will have a few days to make their selections. She stressed the importance of at least registering in order to meet the deadline. If not, people could face penalties on their taxes in 2015. The next registration period won't open up until November 15th.
If you need to sign up you can visit healthcare.gov and must create an account by 11:59 EST on March 31st. Insure Central Texas will help people select plans April 1, 2, 5, 6, or 7th to get enrolled.
Call 2-1-1 for more information.