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MedCity morning read, Thursday, Jan. 29

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said he would expand the Third Frontier program and announced several ways to expand health insurance coverage to add 110,000 Ohioans to the ranks of the uninsured in his State of the State address.

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Gov. Ted Strickland’s State of the State address focused largely on education reform. But there was some take away for the medical industry as well.

The governor said he would expand the Third Frontier program, which has helped attract and establish several health-care companies in Northeast Ohio.

He also announced several ways to expand health insurance coverage to add 110,000 Ohioans to the ranks of the uninsured. Here’s an excerpt from his speech:

Ohioans with employer-provided insurance will be able to buy coverage for their dependents up to the age of 29. Small business employees who lose their jobs will be able to purchase continuation coverage for up to 12 months.

We will reform the open enrollment program to provide more affordable options for people who have pre-existing health conditions. And, we will allow more uninsured workers to purchase health care coverage with pre-tax dollars. Taken together, these steps will bring more than 110,000 adult Ohioans under the protection of health care coverage.

Removing 110,000 adults is important, although that is less than 10 percent of the estimated 1.4 million adults without insurance in Ohio – and those figures were estimated before the drastic economic downturn in the last part of the year.

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