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Nurse's assistant Olga Castillo hasn't had health insurance since 2008; she says she hasn't even seen a doctor since 2005.

'I take care of people, but I can't get insurance to take care of myself,' she said.

Along with countless others, Castillo stood in a line Monday outside one of JPS Hospital's eligibility and enrollment centers, hoping it would be the day she'd get covered.

Instead, she walked away uninsured.

'The system is down; they're not able to help us,' Castillo said. 'They gave us information for us to call in or go online.'

JPS had about 180 appointments available on Monday; those filled up before noon.

The rest of the applicants were told to call or go online, but the Healthcare.gov website was non-functional for much of the day due to volume.

In all, JPS said it provided assistance to more than 1,000 people who sought help Monday.

At American Health Underwriters in downtown Fort Worth, home of the much talked-about 'Obamacare' sign, they had some luck signing people up in spite of a bogged down system. Since putting up the sign last month, Darren Nelson estimates they've enrolled more than 300 people.

'Most people that come through here haven't had insurance in a year or two,' Nelson said.

Last year, the United Way estimated there were 341,000 uninsured people living in Tarrant County under the age of 64. Restaurant worker Marlena Guerrero is one of them.

'We just pray to God nothing will happen to us,' she said.

She also couldn't get an appointment at JPS because of the volume. Even if she is eventually approved, she worries about the cost of coverage.

'It's a lot when you're trying to pay bills and you got kids, you know,' she says.

American Health Underwriters will remain open Monday as late as it needs to Monday evening if people continue to come in. The United Way of Tarrant County will accept clients until 6:30 p.m. and will close at 7 o'clock.

E-mail lzakalik@wfaa.com

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