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Health insurance deadline nears and thousands not registered

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Updated: 4/14 2:36 pm

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Less than three weeks remain for Nevadans to enroll for health insurance or face federal penalties.

Insurance broker Tamar Burch of Branch Benefits Consultants says it isn't easy with all the glitches and portal problems on the Nevada Health Link site.

"It's creating more on top of more, on top of more and it's becoming a stress factor for everybody in that vain," Burch said.

The big deadline is March 31 to avoid federal penalties, and that's less than three weeks away.

A lot of Nevadans are still uninsured, especially younger adults. Alicia Davisson, with the navigator site at East Valley Family services says it's the 'young people syndrome'.

"Nothing is going to happen to you so therefore you don't need health insurance; or 'We're on our folks' insurance until we are 26 so we have time', so there are a lot of factors to putting it off," Davisson said.

People in the insurance business wonder if enrollment avoidance is a disdain of 'big brother' in their lives, or uncertainty about the law as they hear of possible challenges, or just a gamble that nothing will happen to them.

"A lot of people right now to be honest with you, are just saying, 'You know what, I'll take the penalty for a year. I'll just wait' til my taxes and really it doesn't start until 2014'. And $95, is it really going to hurt out of pocket? Not really, not for most," Burch said.

And the penalty is $95 a person per household this first year, or 1 percent of household income, whichever is greater, with a maximum of $285 for a family of four or greater. The penalties increase every year thereafter.

The exchange board will consider extending the March 31st deadline for Nevadans with certain circumstances, who have been caught in the many enrollment glitches.

While paid enrollment stands at just under 21,000 right now, those who help people enroll aren't so sure this will increase much by March 31.

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