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TheStreet Open House

Millions On The Sidelines For Big Health Care Push

By CONNIE CASS

WASHINGTON (AP) a¿¿ Alan Thacker wants health coverage, but he can't get help in his home state of Georgia. Mary Moscarello Gutierrez no longer can afford insurance in New Jersey. Justin Thompson of Utah refuses to be forced into the president's health law.

Millions of people in the United States will remain uninsured despite this week's final, frenzied push to sign them up under the health law. Their reasons are all over the map.

Across the country, many of the uninsured just don't know much about the health overhaul and its March 31 deadline for enrolling in plans that can yield big discounts, researchers say.

An Associated Press-GfK poll found that only one-fourth of the uninsured had tried to sign up through the state or federal insurance marketplaces, also known as exchanges, by late January. If they don't enroll in time, many will face a fine and be locked out of the subsidized plans until next year.

President Barack Obama and a phalanx of advocacy groups, insurance companies and volunteers are scrambling to spread the word about HealthCare.gov as the deadline dangles.

But the complexities of the Affordable Care Act can stymie even the well-informed.

New York tap dancer Jessica Wilt just missed being one of them.

She lost her health coverage last summer when she was laid off as education director of a small dance company. It wasn't easy being uninsured a¿¿ when Wilt slashed her fingertip slicing lemons one night, she avoided an emergency room bill by sealing the cut herself with a super glue.

Wilt, 37, was eager to enroll in a marketplace plan but found the premiums too costly for a freelancer doing arts-related jobs. That would have been the end of it, if the accountant doing her income taxes last week hadn't prodded Wilt to try again. She went online, realized she had erred in projecting her 2014 earnings and qualified for a much bigger subsidy.

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