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Health care coverage marketplace to open up Oct. 1

Published On: Sep 19 2013 03:43:38 PM EDT

In just a few weeks, people can start making choices about their health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Berta Contreras is getting the word out to people in Los Angeles about a new way to get health insurance.

"We need to educate them about how to apply, where to go and what to do," Contreras said.

A key part of the Affordable Care Act kicks in on October 1 . That’s when health insurance marketplaces or exchanges open across the country, giving people a place to shop for plans .

The government is giving states hundreds of millions of dollars to get people to sign up to keep premiums low. Contreras’ non-profit group, Binestar, received half-a-million-dollars to make sure the Latino community knows how to get insurance.

“I think they still are not processing you know it is going to be mandatory for U.S. citizens," Contreras said.

Across the country, states are using federal dollars to pay for outreach programs. Information sessions are part of Connecticut's $15 million marketing campaign.

"We decided to go into the marketplace pretty hard with our marketing efforts to make sure that the consumers are  fully educated and engaged," Phil Boyle of access health CT said.

59-year old Rosa Velazquez is doing her homework. She's semi-retired, pays for her own insurance, but wants a better plan.

"The deductible is too high. So if I end up in the hospital, it is too high for me to pay right now," Velazquez said.

Velazquez is one of 100,000 Connecticut is aiming to enroll during this first year.

You can find out which insurance marketplace you're eligible for by logging on to healthcare-dot-gov.