Health insurance deadline passes, 26,000 in RI sign up

Monday was the deadline to sign up for the private Obamacare health insurance plan.

Hundreds of visitors waited in line Monday for hours at HealthSource RI in Providence.

The line was a couple dozen deep much of the day, the last day to sign up for Obama Care.

"It'll help a lot. It's worth it," Aaliyah Perez told NBC 10. The young Providence woman hasn't had health insurance, keeping her away from the doctor. "There's times where you just need to be seen and there's no way you can be seen at allI'd rather pay money than not go to the doctor at all."

HealthSource RI is the health insurance exchange set up by Rhode Island as part of the new federal health care law.

"We've seen very high volumes of people coming in," Christine Ferguson, head of HealthSource RI told NBC10.

On Monday, nearly 5,100 people called in by 9 p.m. Another 570 walked in. That's on top of the 26,000 who had already signed up before Monday.

Ferguson claims Rhode Island's system has not been plagued by the highly publicized problems the federal government or other states have had. "We have actually performed way beyond expectations. We have one of the only systems that's up and running and has been since the beginning."

Folks signing up will be paying. Price depends on the plan one picks.

A family of four could pay around $1000 a month. An individual could pay several hundred, before breaks given for income level.

Gail Baker of Providence said, "It's good to get insurance of course. And I have high blood pressure so I need insurance." Her employer folded last year. She says getting insurance on her own would have cost about $700 a month. In the exchange it was under $300. She spent about three hours signing up.

"It wasn't bad at all. And I think the options are reasonable, according to your income and what they have to offer you."