Be patient if signing up for health care

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The time has come to enroll for health insurance if you don't have it. But be warned.

"Patience is a virtue. This is a new program starting out," said Ned Pope, of Epilepsy Foundation of Florida.

That means it's already experiencing problems.

If you need help ironing them out, you can go to what's called a "navigator," a person who can walk you through the process.

In Jacksonville, the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida is one of eight recipients in the state to receive a federal grant to educate people through the Affordable Care Act.

"It's not for us to recommend anybody any type of coverage or any path to coverage," Pope said. "We just want to make sure that they have the ability to access the platform and understand their options as far as the exchange is concerned because it's brand new."

Here's what you need to know in a nut shell.

The Affordable Care Act does not affect the military, those on Medicaid, Medicare, or people who already have insurance through their company, unless they believe they can get it cheaper.

If you have a preexisting health condition, you can now get insurance and need to. And if you're in the high percentile of the federal poverty level, you will likely be eligible for a government subsidy to help you get insured.

The Affordable Care Act will also help employees of small businesses whose bosses can't afford to insure them.

ACA coverage will be broken down into different tiers: gold, silver, bronze and platinum. If you're really healthy, you'd probably fall under bronze.

If you have a medical condition, you probably need a higher medal. You may be paying higher premiums, but your insurance would cover a bigger percentage.

You don't have to enroll now. The important thing is you do so soon before the deadline passes Dec. 15 if you need insurance but don't have it.

"Be diligent in exploring all of the resources that are available to you to gain a full understanding of how the health care exchange is going to work, and that will better arm you when it's time to make a decision about what sort of coverage you want to purchase for yourself or your family," Pope said.

Enroll America volunteers prepared packets and went out Tuesday to canvass neighborhoods and educate the 300,000 uninsured in the area, about how to get insured.

"About 59 percent of the people have no idea what Oct. 1 means, have no idea what's coming down the pipe," said Tony Penna, of Enroll America. "To those people who have chosen not to get health insurance, I don't think they realize that they're one illness or one broken leg away from personal bankruptcy."

To sign up online, go to

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.