Open enrollment begins in a little over a week under the Affordable Care Act.
Under the new system, many folks across the nation will be required to buy health insurance through an online market place, which will be unveiled to the public for the first time on Oct. 1.
Our region's local navigator, Patrick Kelly, will help the local community use the marketplace until March.
When open enrollment begins in a week, individuals who are not insured through their employers or through public insurance programs can begin purchasing insurance plans online.
Individuals can visit healthcare.gov, where they will be able to compare different insurance plans in a virtual marketplace known as a healthcare exchange.
"Individuals will go into the system and they'll enter their information," Kelly said. "They will be confirming certain information, much in the way that you might if you get a credit report. There is going to be some real-time confirmations, some of your background information, to make sure you are who you say you are. Then once that's done you'll put in some of your information regarding your income, your dependents: the most basic information that you would put on a simple tax form"
Kelly says to make sure you have all of your income and tax information on hand before starting the enrollment process. After you complete those first few steps, the site will create a profile for you that allows you to view all of the specific financial details that are associated with purchasing a plan.
"They'll be able to know exactly what their premiums and copays are going to be," Kelly said. "It's not something that they'll have a speculation and approximation. Once they enroll, they'll know exactly what their financial responsibility is and what they'll receive as tax credits"
There will be different levels of coverage, known as bronze, silver, and platinum, available on the site.