Open health care enrollment begins - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Open health care enrollment begins

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ALBANY, N.Y. – The Affordable Care Act went into effect Tuesday and had millions of Americans shopping for new health insurance.

All Americans are required to obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Citizens who are covered by their employer do not need to enroll in a different plan under the new law. However, 48 million Americans are currently without coverage.

There are different levels of coverage including bronze, silver, gold and platinum plans that provide varying levels of costs and care.

The New York State of Health is the state's official health care marketplace under the new act, and navigators have been placed throughout the state to assist New Yorkers in choosing the best plan for them. Residents have until December 15 to choose a healthcare plan through the Health Exchange.

New York residents can log on to the Health Exchange Web site and find a plan that best fits their needs. The site became active Tuesday morning and at least two million people hit the site within the first 90 minutes leading to technical difficulties.

ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser says anyone looking to get a plan should be patient and take the time to make the choice that is right for them.

"You can expect that there's going to be glitches, there are going to be bugs and they are going to have to fix that," he said. "You have until the end of the year to sign up for your healthcare. Let them have a week; let them have a couple weeks, especially with the federal shutdown."

The partial government shutdown began Tuesday as a result of unsettled debates related to the new healthcare act. Dr. Besser believes it will take time for Americans to adjust to the new law, and he thinks the law's requirements will evolve over time.

"There will be problems," he said. "This is not a perfect system by any means, but hopefully our government over time can smooth out some of those wrinkles and make that a better policy."

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