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Dozens turn out to open house with questions about the Affordable Care Act

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) -

With the deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, dozens of people showed up for an ACA Open House Tuesday evening.

The event was put on by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ron Green and his wife were uninsured when they came in, and looking for answers.

"I was unemployed about two or three years ago, and then another job that I had taken between unemployment didn't offer insurance," Green said.

He's among the millions of other uninsured Americans who have waited until the last minute, or who don't plan to buy insurance at all.

So far, nearly 56,000 out of about 132,000 eligible South Carolinians have signed up for coverage.

That's why BlueCross BlueShield spokesman Adam Myrick says the next few days are critical.

"It's that type of individual who does not have current insurance through Medicare, Medicaid, or through their employer, who needs to begin now making a decision, and getting the information they need to make a choice," Myrick said.

He says many people simply don't know where to start, like 59 year old Penny Ward, who came to the open house after exhausting all of her other options to find answers.

"This was an opportunity to speak with someone that could sit down and explain to me all the possibilities that were open to us and our income," Ward said.

Some folks were pleasantly surprised at the cost of an independent plan.

"I felt it was more affordable than I was expecting," Green said. "I was actually expecting it to be higher than it was."

Others, like Ward, walked away from the event without a new policy.  She said she and her husband will need a few more days to make their final decision.

"A lot of things are going to have to change," she said. "A lot of switching this bill and pay this one later, but I know a lot of people are going to be going through the same situation."

The Obama administration says it will grant more time for some people to complete enrollment through the federal health care program.  Extensions will be granted to those who have started the process but don't complete it before the March 31 deadline.

For more information on the Affordable Care Act and how to enroll in a health insurance plan, click here.

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