People lining up to sign up for Affordable Care Act on deadline day

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– There was a seemingly endless line at the Access Health CT site in New Haven on Monday, as it was deadline day for people to sign up for the Affordable Care Act.

There was a surge of people in store, online and calling in to sign up.

“We thought the best thing to do would be to come in person,” said Jan Wnukowski of Norwalk.

Wnulkowski and Betsy Slutsky tried to sign up three weeks ago on the website.

“I do have only catastrophic insurance with a very, very high deductible that is not even tantamount to what I spend a year for medical expenses,” Slutsky said.

“I was laid off in May of 2011 on COBRA which is very expensive and I really couldn’t afford it working part time jobs for the last two years,” he said.

Others like Army Veteran Thomas Ross, who has military benefits, are weighing their options.

“I just want to make sure I cover all the bases,” Ross said. “And even though I waited till the last minute, it’s better late than never.”

So far, 19,000-plus have enrolled on the health exchange. But how many of those make up the estimated 344,000 uninsured in Connecticut — is still not clear.

“We don’t have a definitive count in terms of the people who were physically uninsured before they came through us,” said Jason Madrak, the Chief Marketing Officer for Access Health CT. “But one of the things that we are going to be doing as soon as the enrollment period ends is to conduct what we’re calling a member census to go out and ask questions such as that, so we can get a very firm estimate as to what kind of impact we’ve made.”

Madrak said earlier problems have mostly been resolved.

People having difficulty getting their card on time or having their checks cashed on time for their first payment. We’ve worked very closely with the carriers and they’ve worked closely with us.”

Insurance coverage takes affect May 1st for people applying on this last day.

Those who do not face a tax penalty, either up to 1 percent of their annual income or $95 per person, whichever is greater.

Connecticut is the only one of the 50 states to open storefronts. The other state storefront is in New Britain. Both will remain open until 10 p.m. You can also go online or call the toll free number to sign up.

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