The new year means a new start for many people who previously couldn't afford health insurance.
Nationwide, more than 2,000,000 Americans signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Many of them saw their insurance kick in on Wednesday.
For some, it marks the first time they've had health insurance, and that means new patients for the healthcare providers.
Gundersen Health System says sign up in our area has been lower than expected, and they aren't anticipating a big rush of new patients. However, the new patients they do see will come with unique needs. "We don't understand what kind of care these people have had in the past, if they've had preventative care before, what kind of needs they're going to have so there's going to be some early things that we're going to have to look for and adjust, but at this point we're ready to handle all new patients that come through our door," says Michael Richards, Executive Director of External Affairs with Gundersen Health System.
At this time, it's unclear exactly how many insurance policies started with the new year.