Tamara Cupka has been paying up to $475 per month for medical insurance while working two part-time jobs after being laid-off last year from her clothing buyer position.

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IBEW Local Union 776

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North Charleston


She signed up for the Affordable Care Act on Friday, which means that she will pay $25.85 per month for a policy whose actual cost is nearly $350 monthly.

"It was great. It was awesome. They were very thorough, very patient," said Cupka, 49, of James Island.

She registered for the ACA at a temporary enrollment center made possible through the efforts of the South Carolina Progressive Network. The City of Charleston donated office space at Fountain Walk next to the South Carolina Aquarium. Friday was the last day of operation for the center, which enrolled more than 400 people since opening on Dec. 2, officials said.

Cupka said her deductible for the ACA policy is $75, she pays $500 out-of-pocket and receives a monthly stipend of nearly $300 to defray the cost of the insurance.

Jo Ann Anthony, an ACA navigator, helped Cupka through the enrollment process.

"It's been a long day," Anthony said as she packed up.

She said 90 percent of her customers had jobs but no medical coverage.

"They have been so ecstatic to be able to have insurance," Anthony said.

Loreen Myerson, lead navigator, said one woman in her late 50s who enrolled in the ACA had never had health insurance as an adult. That sort of situation is not unusual for people seeking Obamacare coverage, she said.

"We have also helped a great number of people who have recently lost their jobs and, therefore, their health coverage," she said.

The effort continues this weekend at IBEW Local 776 at 3345 Seiberling Road in North Charleston.

President Barack Obama says health insurance sign-ups have surged now that the government's website is working better, The Associated Press reported.

More than a million people have picked a plan since Oct. 1, Obama said Friday, a big jump from the end of November when just 365,000 had signed up.

But HealthCare.gov was down again part of the day.

Unusually heavy web traffic is expected this weekend because of Monday's deadline to sign up so coverage can take effect Jan. 1.