Final push to sign up for health insurance targets young adults

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- If you don't have insurance and you want to get it through the government website, time is running out. The deadline is February 15 to avoid tax penalties for the year 2015.

3TV spoke to young people at a health fair at Phoenix College.  Some students have insurance, but a lot of them are waiting to the last minute.

“I haven't been to the doctor in a while,” said student Zach Ewing. “Just trying to see where I was at.”

Phoenix College nursing students took Ewing’s blood pressure outside the student union. They were getting some hands-on training and practicing their bedside manner at the health fair.

Organizations were also setting up appointments for people who want to sign up for health insurance.

“Getting that one-on-one help really just helps people figure out what their options are to get enrolled in coverage,” said Melissa Stafford Jones, regional director for US Health and Human Services.

Whether it's word of mouth, a smoother sign-up process or events like this, the numbers of people enrolling in Arizona are up.  More than 174,000 have already signed up, versus 120,000 in 2014.

There is a young population at Phoenix College. They are known as the "invincibles" in health care circles. They didn't have health insurance, or never felt they needed it.

“Do you have insurance?” we asked.

“I don't,” said Gabrielle Gamino.

“Is it very confusing?” we asked.

“A little bit, yeah,” responded Taylor Colter.

Young, healthy people have more opportunity to get health care than ever before. They can stay on their parents' insurance until they are 26. We learned at the health fair that they can get on the state Medicaid system called AHCCCS if they make less than $16,000 a year.

That's what Chris Danks did. “It was pretty easy,” Danks said. “I went down to the local DES office and signed up and everything went OK.”

The most direct way to get insurance is to go straight to the website, www.Healthcare.gov.

But a lot of people need help signing up. You can dial 2-1-1 on your phone and get connected to an organization to help you figure out the insurance website.  Or go to www.coveraz.org.