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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- The Health Insurance Marketplace opened less than a month ago, but still people have a hard time understanding it. Christine Chandler and Etricia Easley represented their family and church members Tuesday. They’re educating themselves on the Affordable Health Care Law and the new health insurance marketplace.

“My pastor was the one that had given my sister-in-law and I the brochures and he said I want you to go because we’ve got a lot of older people at our church. So you can come back and explain to them what you’ve learned and then we can help them,” said Chandler.

Both walked away with a better understanding of what it all means.

“How do you get tax credits, which plan to choose, how available assistance is to help you enroll. I didn’t have any of that information before today so it’s been a great help to me,” said Easley.

That’s exactly what representatives from Health Help Mississippi and Cover Mississippi want to hear.

“So many Mississippians are uninsured and so we’re working to carve that number down,” said LaTeshia Butler, Regional Program Manager for Health Help Mississippi.

These Health Care advocates dispelled rumors and explained how the marketplace works.

“Alot of people think that if their medicaid and medicare beneficiaries that they too still have to sign up for the market place when they don’t. This is made for people who don’t have any coverage at all right now or maybe they’re under insured,” said Monet Glover, Community Organizer for Mississippi Health Advocacy Program.

“Some small business owners thought they were required but if you have 50 or less, starting on the 1st quarter next year you’ll be able to shop. Mississippi will have something for small businesses to be able to shop and get healthcare for their employees,” said Butler.

They’ll also hold enrollment events next month so people can sign up.

“We’ll be doing it for a few hours in certain locations so that they can come, sit down with us, tell us their situation, give us all their information and then we’ll put it in right there. They’ll get to see what the plans are, select those plans and they’ll be enrolled and ready to go for January 1st,” said Glover.

Christine and Etricia hope residents take advantage of these opportunities.

“We’ve got to be educated on it, in order to enroll in it. Or you’ve got a choice and you need to know all of your options,” said Chandler.

“Before we get too jumpy or get upset with Republicans or Democrats or whoever, get knowledge. Get the knowledge you need first before you make a decision about it. But it’s here to help. What they’re doing today is great,” said Easley.

Cover Mississippi and Health Help Mississippi are made up of groups like the American Cancer Association and the AARP, The Children’s Defense Fund and Humana.

Americans have until December to sign up. If you don’t have coverage by next year, you will have to pay a penalty. That fee also increases every year.

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