Most of them with conditions that have gone poorly treated or untreated, often for a long time. Conditions which by this point have caused all kinds of complications. Some of those uninsured may find to their surprise they are harboring an untreated threat to their lives. That they have suffered a heart attack or a mild stroke requiring surgery and physical therapy for months, or have cancer or MS or any of thousands of serious, progressive ailments, or are at immediate risk of losing a hunk of body due to untreated diabetes or infection. Many others will be diagnosed with not quite life threatening conditions, things they could fully recover from with the proper regimen, that wide gray area which has kept them from making headway or getting any help, until now. Some too sick or injured to work full-time, others employed at poverty wages with no health benefits, all of them too poor to have seen a doctor regularly if at all.
Everything from badly healed fractures to auto-immune disorders and terminal disease may come through that door at the first of the coming year. I don’t know if the patients will be covered or not, it probably depends a lot on the state. They’re supposed to be, my guess is a whole bunch will think they are covered, or at least hope they are.
More customers are generally good for an industry, even dying customers, there is the boom of a lifetime ahead if you work in any of the many overlapping healthcare fields and understand how to navigate the new system. The pent up demand from accumulated medical neglect in the states is hard to estimate. Presumably many admins in the healthcare field know exactly that, more than anyone else they have been around it for years, and hopefully steps have been taken to manage it.
But I don’t know if all providers in all states really get the degree and magnitude of desperation the Great Recession and lack of health insurance has produced. January 2014 could end up resembling a free healthcare clinic come to many towns, with lines of suffering men, women, and children stretching out the doors and around the buildings.