LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The deadline to sign up for the Affordable Care Act has passed, and those lucky few who actually got in and got qualified are being given extensions until April 15.
Unfortunately, a lot of people in areas of East Texas have been left out in the cold. Two mom's, one from Angelina County and the other from Polk County, say they don't qualify for ACA and are unsure what to do next.
37-year-old Quashandra Walker says she's been trying to get a plan through the ACA since January.
"I've called at least 15 companies and they all tell me that I don't qualify for the Affordable Health Care and to apply for Medicaid," Walker said.
The single mom of two, who works full-time at Sonic in Corrigan, says she's never qualified for Medicaid in the past.
"It's sad. Like I said, I'm facing the penalty on my taxes next year because I don't qualify, which is unfair because I tried to get it," Walker said.
Walker only makes about $18,500 a year.
According to the federal poverty guidelines, a family of three has to make at least $19,530 to even qualify for private health insurance plans in the ACA.
Lufkin mom, Megan Linton, says she knows the hardship.
"It came back that my premiums were going to be $536 a month with a $12,000 deductible for our family," Linton says.
According to statistics released by the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin, there are about 20,581 uninsured residents in Angelina County, which is about 23.7 percent. Uninsured children (under the age of 19) are at 3,576; a 14.8 percent rate. If Texas expanded adult Medicaid, the uninsured would shrink to 9,127 and if Texas does not take a Medicaid option there would be 14,739 uninsured.
"It's frustrating to say the least. Just being told that you better get on it or you get penalized at this end of the tax year or maybe you'll qualify for an exemption if we fight through the system. It's frustrating," Linton said.
Linton's husband gets insurance through his job, and her two eldest kids qualify for Medicaid. While Linton is getting maternity care since she had her third baby in February, she says that care will end next month. Then she will be responsible to try and qualify for Medicaid.
"It's tight and so for a $536 premium every month—it really does get tight. And it's just not affordable," Linton said.
Walker adds that all she can do is hope for the best.
"I just hope we don't get sick," Walker said.
Enroll America says about 1 million uninsured Texan adults fall into the coverage gap.