Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Key new provisions of President Obama's new health care law went into effect on Tuesday despite a federal government shutdown.
Millions of Americans can now shop around for medical insurance coverage through the new federal and state online health insurance exchanges.
300,000 people in central New York are without health insurance and as of Tuesday, they and nearly 1-million other New Yorkers can purchase an insurance plan through the exchange program.
In New York State, Obamacare is known as New York State of Health and they held an event at the Syracuse Community Health Center to help get things started.
“We now have this opportunity for people who are perhaps lower income, or in between jobs, or work in a job that doesn’t have coverage, now they can have healthcare coverage,” said Sara Wall Bollinger
The state has set up a website that can be used for individuals, families and small businesses that has "navigators" who will help walk you through the process.
“In every state, the subsidies that may be offered are different, the plans that may be offered are different,” explained Courtney Burke. “Sometimes you may not know what subsidies you qualify for, you may not know what options to choose. The navigators are there to help individuals and small businesses.”
Most people will use the New York State of Health website to actually purchase the plans.
That website launched Tuesday morning and ran into loading problems for some people as it had nearly 8-million hits by the afternoon.
People have until January 1, 2014 to purchase a plan and avoid being penalized if they do not have insurance.
The navigators who spoke with NewsChannel 9 actually urged people to take their time, so they can pick a plan that's good fit.
You can visit the New York State of Health page by clicking here
You can also call 1-855-355-5777 to receive help in the enrollment process.