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      Health coverage for millions starts tomorrow

      Millions of Americans who previously did not have health care insurance will be able to see a doctor starting tomorrow. At least two million Americans will be covered by Medicaid or private insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Julie Grasson is Assistant Director of Toledo/Lucas CareNet. "This will have a definite impact on people's health because by reducing the overusage of emergecy rooms we will be able to alleviate the strain on the hospital sytems," Ms. Grasson said.

      For those people who have not yet bought a plan through the marketplace or signed up under the Medicaid expansion there is still time. If you sign up for a health insurance plan and pay your first month premium by January 15 your coverage will start on February 1. Individuals can sign up on the marketplace through March 31st. People who do not sign up for health insurance by the March 31st deadline could be subject to financial penalties that will be imposed by the Internal Revenue Service.

      The next opportunity to enroll after the March 31st deadline will be in the fall but coverage would not start until 2015.

      Toledo/Lucas County Care Net and the Neighborhood Health Association will have three seminars next week to answer questions about the Affordable Care Act and help people sign up for health insurance.

      Monday, January 6 from 2-5 pm at Mercy St. Ann Hospital

      Wednesday, January 8 from 2:30-6:30 pm at Mercy St. Charles Hospital

      Thursday, January 9 from 8am-5pm at Mercy Healthcare Center