SALEM -- Oregon s deadline for coverage under the new health care law is Friday December 27th at 5pm.

A spokesman for Cover Oregon, the health care exchange, said people who are buying insurance and have filled out their enrollment forms but not heard back from Cover Oregon should not wait. They should immediately contact insurance companies directly.

In the meantime, thousands are signing up for insurance through Cover Oregon.

One of them is Habiba Addo, an African dance instructor and a story teller living in Portland. She last had insurance 15 years ago. When I m sick, I go to work. I still work. I teach when I m sick. I've taught with pneumonia many times and performed many times, she said.

But this day she's applying for health insurance under Oregon s version of the new national health care law. She already feels the benefit. Much bigger piece of mind, definitely. And that is health care in itself. Just the piece of mind that I ll be taken care of no matter what, said Addo.

Cover Oregon has earned lots of bad publicity because its website is still not working for the general public. But community partners like the North by Northeast Community Center are able to use the site. We're actually having great success entering applications onto the portal, said Dolly England from North by Northeast.

David Sangster applied Monday. He's spent a year out of work and out of health insurance. Yeah. I actually didn t come to the doctor when I had something going on. I waited a while and struggled with it, he said. I don t have to do that again. Because he s still out of work, Sangster qualified for free health coverage.

Statewide, Cover Oregon reports 31,000 people have successfully enrolled and 20,000 of them got free health insurance through the Oregon Health Plan because of their low income level.

Habiba Addo is about to join that group. She makes around $19,000 a year.

You are eligible for the Oregon Health Plan, so this is medical coverage to you, at no cost, said Dolly England at the North by Northeast Community Center.

And with that, Addo let out a cheer and began an African dance.

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