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Arkansans Act Fast As Affordable Health Care Deadline Nears

While many of you are rushing to get last minute gifts under the tree, there's another big deadline approaching, and it could determine when your health benefits kick in.
Little Rock -- (KARK) While many of you are rushing to get last minute gifts under the tree, there's another big deadline approaching, and it could determine when your health benefits kick in.

Monday, December 23, is the last day you can enroll to ensure your benefits start January first.

As a result, dozens of agencies throughout Central Arkansas are hosting events all week to prepare for an influx of people expected to get help before the cut off.

While many of you are rushing to get last minute gifts under the tree, there's another big deadline approaching, and it could determine when your health benefits kick in. Monday, December 23, is the last day you can enroll to ensure your benefits start January first. As a result, dozens of agencies throughout Central Arkansas are hosting events all week to prepare for an influx of people expected to get help before the cut off.

Some Arkansans went to the Harmony Health Clinic this week to sign up for insurance plans under the Affordable Health Care Act. After four months of putting off enrollment, Steve Fly went to the clinic to get help.

"It was actually fast. I liked it. More smoother," said Steve Fly, signed up for health care.

This came as a surprise to Fly, following the troubled rollout of healthcare.gov.

"I thought it was kind of confusing and there's a lot more healthcare plans that pop up so I thought it would be easier to come here for a face to face interview," says Fly.

The clinic is seeing more people come in this week to learn about their options before enrolling. This comes after the deadline was extended 8 days.

"To get the information out more, and to allow more people time to get enrolled," said Rachondra Hill, Harmony Health Clinic.

The Harmony Health Clinic has already helped 420 sign up for health care since October. And they're using educational pamphlets and videos to ease any concerns Arkansans have.

"We'll do the educational videos, tell them the basics about how the program will work and what they can expect and then go ahead and sign them up," said Hill.

With the Holidays around the corner, finding time to enroll can be a hassle, but officials say it's not a lengthy process. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes. If you miss the deadline, that means you won't get benefits January 1st. Open enrollment lasts until March 31st. Benefits for those who sign up after deadline won't kick in until they pay their first premium.

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