Signing up for Obamacare: An expert explains the basics

Open enrollment has begun under the Affordable Care Act -- also known as Obamacare -- and the kickoff has generated tremendous interest from Americans. But there's still a lot of confusion about how the enrollment process actually works.

This week, millions of people flocked to, the program's main website, to find out more about the options. That website then directs people to online insurance marketplaces where they can sign up for health insurance based on the state they live in.

The large number of people trying to access the website led to outages and delays caused by the unexpectedly high traffic volume.

The Obama administration hopes 7 million people will sign up for insurance during the 2014-2015 year, and more than 1 million Americans visited before 7 a.m. ET on the first day of enrollment alone.

But there's really no need to join the rush. Enrollment for the coming year remains open until March 31, 2014. If you want coverage to begin on Jan. 1, 2014, you can sign up any time between now and Dec. 15.

Obscured by all the stories of website difficulties and political battles are basic facts about the new health care program that many Americans want to know: How much will this insurance cost, how do I find out which plans are available, and how do I pick one that fits both my health care needs and budget?

CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook sat down with a top expert to get answers for these questions and more.

Sherry Glied is a PhD economist who served as Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 2010 to 2012. She was in the "trenches" figuring out how the health care law would be implemented.

Glied, who currently is dean of NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, breaks down the basics in the latest edition of Morning Rounds with Dr. LaPook.

Watch the video above to find out more.