By Dorothy Tucker

(CBS) — We’re just hours away from the launch of “Obamacare,” or the Affordable Care Act.

The website where millions of Americans can shop for insurance goes live on Tuesday Oct. 1. Applying is kind of like shopping for a flight on an airline website.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker offers a preview of what to expect.

Jennifer McGuire patiently waits in a health care clinic to see a doctor. She’ll pay out-of-pocket for the visit. She has a job as a salesperson but she had no health insurance.

“I had a job for a long time and I was laid off due to the economy, and I lost my health insurance,” she says.

McGuire is among the more than 330,000 in Illinois expected to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

“I need it to work desperately for me,” she says.

A YouTube video shows a preview of the federal site where people like McGuire will shop for insurance. You’ll be directed to this site after logging on to the state’s site, called

Consumers will be expected to provide information ranging from their household size and income and whether they use tobacco.

The consumer-friendly website will give step-by-step instructions on how to apply. In the Chicago area, eight companies will offer 66 different plans.

You’ll literally be able to put up three at a time, side by side, on the screen and compare them.

“All of the plans will cover the very similar 10 essential health benefits. But there are differences with their premiums, what the monthly cost might be,” Deputy Gov. Kristal Thomas says.

The bottom line: The less you pay every month the more you’ll pay every visit. That’s what people like McGuire will have to decide.

“I want to know that I’m going to be taken care of,” she says.

In Chicago, the city will also be ready to help consumers figure out the new law and get the insurance they need, WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.

City Health Director Dr. Bechara Choucair says the Enroll Chicago program will provide information and assistance.

He says residents can find a lot of help on the state’s “Get Covered Illinois” website.

But he also says city personnel will provide information at libraries, police stations and at city events, among other places.

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