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On October 1, thousands of Georgians will set out to purchase health insurance as part of the Affordable Care Act. Before users go into the Health Insurance Marketplace, the 11Alive Help Desk wants to make potential buyers aware of important facts to know.

Each day leading up to enrollment, the Help Desk will provide new tips to know while preparing to enroll.

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Key Dates to Remember

According to HealthCare.gov, three important dates to remember are: October 1, 2013,Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment begins; January 1, 2014, health coverage purchased through the Marketplace goes into effect; and March 31, 2014, open enrollment ends.

Once on HealthCare.gov, a short survey will help users decide if they are qualified for Medicaid, in addition to other plans that work best in each individual situation. The site also has a user-friendly interface that helps to calculate the best insurance deal for a multitude of insurance needs.

Those who remain uninsured after the end of open enrollment could face a fine.

Avoiding Scams

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says that scam artists are already calling consumers offering great insurance deals, then taking the money and disappearing. Be aware that the government will not call consumers to offer insurance deals.

Seniors are also being targeted by scam artists telling them that they need to apply for a new Medicare card under the Affordable Care Act. Often times they are asked to provide a social security number, in turn becoming victims of identify theft.

Bottom line, hang up the phone right away if contacted, and report any attempted scam to the FTC.

Who is Eligible?

United States citizens living in the U.S. are eligible to apply through the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov beginning October 1.

Individuals who are part of a group insurance plan through an employer, or part of a family plan and under the age of 26-years-old, do not have to apply.

How Much Will Plans Cost?

The cost of getting the mandatory coverage will vary depending on the level of benefit with five eligible insurance carriers. The average cost for basic health insurance coverage for a 45-year-old person will range from $216 to $308 dollars.

Health Care 'Navigators'

Need help figuring out the best plan in the Marketplace? Teams of 'navigators' are available to assist beginning October 1, and their service is free.

Navigators are trained to help consumers, small businesses, and their employees with their insurance needs.

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