DALLAS -- Signing up on the national health insurance marketplace has been as difficult for Margarita Salas as a cold has made breathing for her daughter.
"I did try,” Salas said. “I believe it was some time in November. But I didn't complete the process, and then the second time, I couldn't get back in."
More than 65 percent of the patients at the Los Barrios Unidos Community Clinic are uninsured. Even with a staff helping patients navigate the system, no one knows how many have actually signed up under the Affordable Care Act.
2014 begins with more than two million people enrolled in private health plans, after a last-minute influx on Healthcare.gov. That number is just a fraction of the Obama administration's original goal of 3.3 million enrollees for 2013.
At last tally, 14,000 Texans had completed the process on Healthcare.gov. Nearly 250,000 applications were pending.
"We won't know whether or not we're impacted by Obamacare and insurance for probably another quarter or another year, when we pull our records and find out how many more patients we have that are on private insurance,” said Joleen Bagwell, director of development for Los Barrios Unidos.
Bagwell hopes Obamacare will have a positive impact.
“Obamacare, for us, is coming in with a whisper rather than with a bang,” she said. “If we eventually have more people who are insured, then hallelujah!”
The Hill family wanted insurance, but found it still cost too much. And, they made too much for Medicaid.
They would have qualified for expanded Medicaid coverage, had Texas opted not to expand the program along with other states.
"I don't understand it either,” said Robby Hill, whose two step-daughters are without coverage as a result.
Many of the patients, including Margarita Salas, want coverage and are willing to pay for it.
"I'm determined to get it,” she said.
The federal government will provide December’s enrollment numbers in Texas sometime in early January.
Those applying through the national health insurance marketplace have until March 31 to sign up for insurance. After that, citizens without insurance face a penalty.