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By Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief

ALBANY The state Health Department on Monday opened its hotline to help customers sign up for New York's health-care exchange.

The enrollment period runs from Oct. 1 through March 31.

State officials said the exchange will provide health insurance to at least 1 million uninsured New Yorkers as part of the federal Affordable Care Act. The program will provide tax credits for individuals with incomes under $45,960 and families of four with incomes less than $94,200.

The exchanges open Jan 1.

New York, with the help of $370 million in federal aid, has been preparing for the launch of the exchanges.

Trained representatives began answering questions about the exchange on Monday for individuals and small businesses, which are also eligible to enroll.

The phone number for the "NY State of Health" program is 1-855-355-5777.

The line will be open Monday through Friday 8 a.m to 5 p.m.

Starting Oct. 1, the hours will expand to Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, visit nystateofhealth.ny.gov

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