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How to enroll under the Affordable Care Act

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(Source: Healthcare.gov) (Source: Healthcare.gov)
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(Toledo News Now) -

Thousands of uninsured Americans have been waiting for Oct. 1, the day open enrollment begins for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Uninsured citizens can go to Healthcare.gov starting at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday to find insurance. By clicking the green box that says "See your options," users can answer questions and find out what kinds of coverage options will be best for them.

"I would anticipate there's going to be a total volume there," said Dave Spiess, a health insurance specialist with the Northwest Ohio Association of Health Underwriters. "It may take a couple of weeks for the activity level to settle down where you can get on it during the normal business hours."

Spiess is helping individuals and businesses get through the many twists and turns of the Affordable Care Act by answering key questions, such as:

If you're uninsured, do you have to sign up right away?

No, you have until March 31, 2014. After that, an annual penalty of $95, or 1 percent of your income, kicks in.

When does the healthcare coverage take effect?

January 1, 2014, as long as you sign up by December 14.

If you don't have a job, will you have to pay for coverage?

It depends on your income level and demographic. You could pay a minimal amount, or no premium at all.

Does it cost money to enroll?

You may be required to pay the first month's premium when you enroll.

Spiess says to be patient.

"Begin poking around. Try to familiarize yourself, but probably as importantly, align yourself with a professional that can provide the guidance and the wisdom," he said.

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