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Despite the federal government shutdown, requirements in the Affordable Care Act continue to hold steady in terms of deadlines.

The new health insurance exchange application process started last week. The uninsured and those seeking less expensive health care have until March 31 to enroll for new insurance through nystateofhealth.ny.gov, the state’s new online health insurance marketplace, or exchange. Coverage can start as soon as Jan. 1.

Here are questions and answers provided by Independent Health when it comes to individual responsibilities in the Affordable Care Act:

How do I enroll in coverage through the exchange?

There is a streamlined single application to determine eligibility for Medicaid or exchange subsidies which can be completed online or on paper. The federal government estimates it will take approximately 45 minutes for an individual to enroll in exchange coverage online.

What products will be available for individuals on the exchange?

Every individual policy sold beginning next year must offer “essential health benefits.” These include: Ambulatory services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

Plans also will be available in four “metal tiers” – bronze to platinum – which will determine what level of out-of-pocket costs consumers are expected to pay.

Catastrophic coverage will be available for individuals under 30 or where affordable coverage is not available.

What are the premium subsidies available for individuals shopping on the exchange?