What's the next step if you are uninsured?

Posted at: 09/23/2013 10:45 PM
Updated at: 09/23/2013 11:19 PM
By: Lynette Adams

One week from tomorrow, scores of uninsured Americans will be able to sign up for health insurance.

It's all part of the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."

It's estimated as many as 16-million Americans will purchase medical insurance or enroll in medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program.

But where do you start?

Some people are still confused about how to sign up for this coverage, so News10NBC went looking for those answers. What we found, is the official health plan marketplace is your first stop.

Sandra Johnson, is like millions of Americans who plan to sign up for health insurance next week, but have a few questions.  For starters, where do you begin?

"The only thing about it we haven't had that much information about it, so I don't know for sure how I'm going to get it. I don't know if you're going to get it online or through the mail."

You can start signing up as early as Tuesday, October 1st, and you have until March to enroll. We learned you can enroll over the phone or online.

So what happens if you don't have insurance, and you don't enroll by the deadline? There's a penalty. $95.00 or 1 percent of your salary, whichever is higher. For children, that number is half, and those numbers only go up each year.

"I have to pay for car insurance, this  is the same thing as health insurance. So I think that's a fair thing to say if you don't have insurance you will have to pay a fee."

You have until March 31, 2014 to enroll. Coverage in Rochester will start at about $275 a month, all the way up to $800 a month, depending on what you choose.

If you need help paying for coverage,you could be eligible for a government subsidy. People like Johnson can't wait. She's been without coverage for more than two years.

"I do get worried and it's very nerve wracking not to have insurance. I don't go to the doctor unless I need to. I go to my six month checkup and that's it."

You can begin the enrollment process by calling the state health customer service center at, 1-855-355-5777. Trained representatives are standing by to help from 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.

You can also go online to www.Healthbenefitexhcange.ny.gov.