The push is on to get people signed up for health insurance ahead of Monday's federal deadline.


DENVER— A line was out the door Monday afternoon at a temporary sign-up center for Connect For Health Colorado on the 16th Street Mall.

People have until midnight Monday to start the process of signing up for benefits. Officials with Connect For Health Colorado say if someone has at least started their application by the deadline, they will be given time to finish it in the coming weeks.

So many people lined up to apply for benefits, officials rented out two extra vacant storefronts to help people sign up.

"We did expect a lot of people to wait until the last moment," said Patty Fontneau, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado. "I'm not sure we expected this many, but we have staffed up as much as we can."

Nuam Dim is among the more than 50 people who signed up for health insurance in Downtown Denver on Sunday.

"Every single day I was working, so it was too, too busy and I couldn't make it," she said. "I feel so good because now I'm insured with the health insurance, so if anything happens, I'm covered."

Dim, who is a self-employed sushi chef, expected to wait a while, but said the sign up was quick. Others, though, have had problems accessing the state's website. Connect for Health Colorado said it is working, but may be slow.

"The website is up and running. There is a heavy volume, I'll tell you, so there's lots of options for people, even today, tonight, tomorrow," Kanamine said, adding that the customer service center would be open until midnight on Monday.

After that midnight deadline, those without health insurance will be charged a penalty fee on their taxes next year: either $95 or one percent of your annual income, whichever is higher.

Some people may still be able to sign up for insurance after the deadline, but only under certain circumstances. Those include changing jobs or moving to another state after the deadline.

How much of a penalty you pay will depend on when you sign up. Connect for Health Colorado said they will work with people past the deadline, as long as they have at least started the process of signing up.

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