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Sebelius Talks Healthcare Overhaul In Dallas

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U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks to the National Convention of the NAACP on July 16, 2013 in Orlando, Florida. (credit: Tim Boyles/Getty Images)

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks to the National Convention of the NAACP on July 16, 2013 in Orlando, Florida. (credit: Tim Boyles/Getty Images)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A major part of the Affordable Care Act goes into effect on October 1, and members of the Obama administration are hitting the road to clear up some confusion. Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius joined Dallas County officials and community activists on Thursday for a panel discussion at the Los Barrios Unidos Community Clinic in Dallas.

Event organizers explained that these discussions are aimed at educating the public about the Affordable Care Act.

Roughly one in three people in Dallas have no health insurance and must sign up by January. That equates to roughly 500,000 people. They can start picking a plan on Tuesday. This enrollment can be completed online, by phone, through the mail or with the help of a counselor.

“What we have is a law that is in place, upheld by the Supreme Court, that will begin to change that profile in America forever,” Sebelius told the crowd on Thursday morning, “and that’s good news.”

A similar meeting was held Wednesday night near Dallas Love Field, where dozens of residents got answers from a federal official who went over the bullet points of the new healthcare act. Many of the questions asked about the “fine print” details of the plan. Several of those who attended the meeting said that they will need to enroll, or help a friend or relative enroll.

With just a few days left, people know that they have to enroll, but are hesitant to take that step.

“I really want to know how much it will cost,” said Cynthia McKinney. “You say affordable. What is affordable?”

There will be three levels of coverage — gold, silver and bronze. The costs vary depending on how much you make, your age and where you live. Some 43 insurance providers in the DFW area will offer healthcare coverage.

Even though the community outreach meetings are aimed at helping residents, some said that they wish the meetings would have started sooner. David Perez wondered, “Why didn’t we do this three months ago? Why the push now? The deadline, of course, but it’s not really fair to us.”

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