YAKIMA, Wa.--Monday was a busy day for sign ups in the Yakima Valley as several organizations worked to connect thousands of people with quality health coverage.
Health providers said there's more than 76,000 people uninsured in Yakima County and 8,000 in Kittitas County.
Alberta Basquec is a single mom with three kids. She hasn't had medical coverage for years and said a weight has been lifted off her shoulders.
"I haven't been able to do anything as far as medical when I'm sick or anything," said Basquec.
Sylvia Ward works at the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic and has seen firsthand the hardships that families like Alberta's go through when they can't pay for medical care.
"It's sad," said Ward. "I mean we're able to get insurance cause our employer gives us insurance, but for those people out there that are making minimum wage and barely making it. To make their house payment, their car payments and then you get an insurance bill that you can't afford."
But on Monday, with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act" health providers said 72 percent of people living in Yakima County will benefit and nearly 26 percent in Kittitas County.
"Until now, being poor wasn't enough to qualify someone for Medicaid so if you were sick or ill people had to make serious choices about whether or not they wanted to go to the doctor or the clinic," said Rhonda Hauff, the Deputy CEO of Neighborhood Health Services.
A mix of high demand and technical problems overwhelmed the online enrollment system earlier Monday, but local health providers said that hasn't set them back.
"That's not delayed our progress," said Hauff. "We've had several hundred inquires already, and so our staff and the assisters throughout our partner organizations as well, are collecting names and phone numbers."
You can get help from medical centers like the Kittitas County Public Health Department, Community Health of Central Washington and several other clinics. They'll provide one-on-one assistance to help you learn more about your options.