GREENSBORO, N.C. -- With less than a week left to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, local leaders are canvassing communities trying to get those who are still uninsured enrolled.
Religious and health care officials met Tuesday at St. Phillips AME Zion Church to get out the message that time is running out.
"Hop on Healthcare.gov, call the federal hotline; make an appointment with an in-person assistor,” said Mark Van Arnam from the Get Covered America campaign.
North Carolina ranks fifth in the country for health care sign up, and navigators say this week they've been busier than ever.
"Our appointments are filling almost as soon as we can put the appointments in," said Janet McAuley, a Greensboro-based navigator.
Jo Isler signed up in January.
She said after going into debt from a $6,000 knee replacement surgery, she needed a cheaper plan.
"It saved my life because I just couldn't afford it," Isler said.
Tax experts say not meeting next week's deadline could cause big problems next year.
"These penalties do go up substantially over the years," said Dennis Newman, tax manager at Sharrard, McGee, & Company accounting firm.
Not signing up by the deadline could cost an individual up to $95 or one percent of their income, capped at $285 per family for 2014.
In 2015, the penalty jumps to $325 or two percent of household income.
"You'd hate to pay a penalty for something that you probably should have," Newman said.