BUFFALO, NY - One of the biggest pieces of healthcare reform, the Health Insurance Marketplace, goes "live" on October 1st.
How it may affect you, depends largely on your current situation.
Polls show many Americans remain mystified by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare" as it is commonly known. But there's an obvious starting point: Do you have health care coverage?
USA Today has put together a comprehensive, interactive page which simplifies key points of the new laws, and breaks it down situationally.
If your employer provides health insurance for you, it's likely you don't have to do anything Tuesday, when enrollment begins. The president has said you will be able to keep your doctor and your plan.
For others - those without insurance - it's more complicated. The law requires virtually all U.S. citizens and legal residents to have coverage or pay a penalty. That will happen either through an expanded government Medicaid program, which would cover costs for lower-income people, or by requiring people without coverage to buy it. Financial help will be available for those who qualify, based on income.
Those needing to buy insurance should begin by checking out the health insurance exchanges.
Exchanges are the online markets on which individuals and small businesses will buy private health insurance. Think of them as one-stop- shopping destinations similar to Amazon.com that are supposed to give consumers a quick way to compare insurance policies.
New York State received approximately $385 million in Federal funds to establish its Exchange. A significant portion of these grants have been used to build a new information technology infrastructure which integrates Medicaid enrollment and eligibility with Exchange operations for individuals and small groups.
Details on New York's Official Health Plan Marketplace (branded as New York State of Health) can be found by clicking here.
New York expects 1 million uninsured residents to get health insurance under the exchanges. The enrollment period runs from Oct. 1 through March 31.
This story includes reporting by The Associated Press
WGRZ-TV, wgrz.com, AP