Health insurance

Gavin Dahl

  • Arbol Farm Market moving to Paonia Town Park
  • Taneal Mautz of Paonia High & Adam Smith of Hotchkiss High awarded Daniels scholarships
  • 911 system upgrades may impact PBX and multiline phone systems, not landlines or cell phones
  • Lawmakers delay hearing on bill to lower health insurance premiums
  • Economists say reducing emissions now will save money long-term
  • Former Scott Tipton staffer says Lauren Boebert's criticisms onstage in Montrose are false

  

Scott Franz

  • Delta, Ouray, Hinsdale, Gunnison County are now Green on the state's COVID dial, while Montrose, Mesa, San Miguel County are still Blue
  • Cedaredge pot shop application process opens April 2nd
  • Governor orders flags to half-staff on Saturday in honor of Chester Riley
  • New study finds listening to nature could have significant health benefits
  • Lawmakers begin debating controversial health care plan aimed at lowering costs for those who buy insurance on the individual market because they can't get it through an employer

  • Telluride Parks & Rec approves plan for Bluegrass Festival to spread out over 2 weekends
  • Hotchkiss trustees appoint Sven Edstrom to open seat
  • Final plans released for Little Blue Canyon road closures
  • Colorado Democrats reviving push to bring down insurance costs on individual market
  • Jason Sperling, co-founder of People Speak, talks about how their platform helps governments like City of Grand Junction give citizens an easier way to interact

Aaron Ontiveroz / Denver Post

  • Mesa County moves from Orange to Yellow on the state's COVID dial
  • Senator Michael Bennet announced he is reintroducing his Medicare X Choice Act to create a public option Medicare Exchange healthcare plan, Kate Redmond reports
  • Governor Jared Polis delivered his annual State of the State address yesterday, Scott Franz shares highlights

  

Colorado Avalanche Information Center

  • Mesa, Delta, Montrose, San Miguel Counties will begin vaccinating frontline health workers next week
  • Connect for Health Colorado extends insurance sign-up deadline to Friday
  • Audit finds red flags at Colorado State Judiciary Administration
  • KBUT: Avalanche forecasters concerned about stability of this season's snowpack
  • Avalanche education courses see record enrollment numbers
  • Jodi Peterson gets oil & gas industry reaction to new COGCC rules

  

  • COVID death toll in Montrose County up to 17
  • Montrose School District announces another 121 students, 15 staff must quarantine
  • Fish & Wildlife says white-tailed ptarmigan doesn't need Endangered Species protection
  • Colorado taking carrot and stick approach to COVID safety enforcement
  • Researchers see wildflowers at solar farms beneficial to water quality
  • Jodi Peterson checks in with Connect for Health Colorado about upcoming insurance deadlines

  

Marty Durlin

  • 2021 individual health insurance premiums in Colorado will decrease an average of 1.4% while group rates will increase an average of 3.8%
  • Attorney General Phil Weiser met with local officials in Montrose to discuss election integrity, voter intimidation, misinformation
  • KSUT moves into new Tribal Media Center
  • Temporary ban on certain visas impacts ski industry hiring
  • DCI reporter Lisa Young discusses her coverage of proposed changes to Delta County land use code

  • Capitol Coverage of new digital ID's for smartphone use
  • Update on ballot count for Nov. 5th election and other news
  • Lawmakers debate which school safety measures to pursue
  • Efforts to bring health insurance to Colorado children are stalling
  • Longtime HQ of Coors Brewing leaving Colorado for Chicago

  • Colorado leading the way for states that want a public insurance option
  • KVNF News examines how the Federal Government will look at climage change
  • Grand Junction schools name permanent Superintendent
  • Bear that attacked a hiker on Memorial Day identified, killed
  • Delta County Commissioners sign contract for new Human Services Building

  • Health insurance rates in Colorado set to rise by over 30 percent
  • Paonia, Meeker matchup highlights big weekend in prep football
  • Town of Paonia to hold special meeting; seeks RFP for sewer line
  • Mesa County Coroner releases data about drug overdose deaths

Data continues to show that where a person lives in Colorado plays a big role in dictating how much they pay for health insurance. That's because insurers use it to calculate premiums and in some regions it's unusually high. State lawmakers are aware of the problem – but are not sure what the solution is.

"I was seeing upwards of $500 a month," said Sam Higby, a Breckenridge outdoor gear shop employee. He's 35 and healthy, but said on his salary he simply can't afford healthcare.

"It does weigh on me as an active person, being concerned about what might happen out there."

Health insurance premiums can vary widely in Colorado depending on where you live — it's just one of the factors health insurance companies use to calculate prices. Mountain regions continue to have some of the highest premiums in the country. At the statehouse, House Bill 16-1336 [.pdf] would look at treating the entire state as one region, rather than continuing to group regions separately.

"Our current insurance payment of $1,508 a month is equivalent to our mortgage payment. We can't afford it," said Richard Backe, a Garfield County small-business owner. "There are numerous people in the mountain district with the same story. We are the healthiest counties in the state, and we have the highest insurance rates."

KVNF Regional Newscast: Friday, April 1, 2016

Apr 1, 2016

  • Colorado targets distracted driving
  • Program incentivizes Cedaredge employees to stay active 
  • Preliminary look at state’s snowpack
  • State bill looks to lower sky­-high prices for premiums in mountain towns  

Colorado residents have vastly different health outcomes, based in part on where they live in the state. Rocky Mountain PBS News analyzed health data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to rank each of the state's 64 counties based on a variety of health indicators from obesity, to amount of exercise, to smoking and premature deaths.

Butte is an old mining town, tucked away in the southwest corner of Montana with a population of about 34,000. Locals enjoy many things you can't find elsewhere — campgrounds a quick drive from downtown and gorgeous mountain ranges nearby. But in Butte, as in much of rural America, advanced medical care is absent.

People in Butte who experience serious trauma or need specialty care rely on air ambulance flights to get them the help they need.

Thousands of Americans are again searching for health insurance after losing it for 2016. That's partly because some large, low-cost insurers — health cooperatives, set up under the Affordable Care Act — are folding in a dozen states.

KVNF Regional Newscast: Friday, Nov. 20, 2015

Nov 20, 2015

  • Montrose mental health center awarded $600K
  • Reward for information about area cattle killers
  • Health insurance meeting brings some answers, more questions
  • Water plan for state unveiled

KVNF Regional Newscast: Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015

Oct 27, 2015

  • Health Center for uninsured expands
  • Health insurance rates will increase next year
  • 24 states sue EPA
  • GOP debate at CU Boulder

KVNF Regional Newscast: Monday, Oct. 19, 2015

Oct 19, 2015

  • Colorado Health Insurance Co­op no longer able to sell insurance for next year
  • Federal grants help coal economies
  • Large grant helps private well owners get their water tested
  • More snow than average predicted for southern Colorado
  • KVNF Annual Meeting results

  • Facebook helps in Grand Junction arrest
  • Initiative nears deadline for health insurance overhaul
  • Burns planned for slash piles near Lake City
  • Ballots sent out today, voting machines tested
  • Entrepreneurs aim to make insects compete with meat

KVNF Regional Newscast: Friday, Oct. 9, 2015

Oct 9, 2015

  • Open records request shows allegations of misconduct for former Delta police chief
  • Health insurance company in jeopardy after federal payment falls through
  • A conversation with Delta hospital’s CEO over clinic closures and openings

On Wednesday, the Census Bureau gave Obamacare some good news: the number of people without health insurance dropped to 10.4 percent in 2014, down from 13.3 percent in 2013.

Colorado may be doing even better. When the Affordable Care Act launched two years ago, about 1 in 7 of the state's residents, or 14 percent, were uninsured, according to the nonprofit, nonpartisan Colorado Health Institute. That figure is now 6.7 percent, according to the organization's latest data.

The number of Coloradans who don't have health insurance has dropped by about half since President Barack Obama's signature health care law went into effect. The state's uninsured rate fell from 14.3 percent in 2013 to 6.7 percent in 2015. Not only does the Colorado Access Health Survey say that the uninsured are at a record low, it also finds that more people have enrolled in Medicaid.

The states that set up their own insurance marketplaces have nothing to lose in King v. Burwell, the big Supreme Court case that will be decided by the end of June. But that doesn't mean those states are breathing easy.

With varying degrees of difficulty, all of the state-based exchanges are struggling to figure out how to become financially self-sufficient as the spigot of federal start-up money shuts off.

Dana Lam was insured under her parent's health plan until the end of 2014, thanks to a provision of the Affordable Care Act that allows young adults to stay on family health insurance until they turn 26.

The arrangement worked out well until she needed treatment for depression. Lam knew that if she used her parents' health plan to see a psychotherapist or psychiatrist, her visit would show up on their insurance statements.

She wasn't ready to talk to them about her mental health issues. "I was just so afraid of having that conversation with them," she says.

Frances Stevens could have been a contender. She was training to be a Golden Gloves boxer and working as a magazine publisher in 1997 when 1,000 copies of the latest issue arrived at her San Francisco office.

"I'd just turned 30. I was an athlete. I had a job that I loved, a life that I loved," she recalls. "And in a second my life changed."

Got a high-deductible health plan? The kind that doesn't pay most medical bills until they exceed several thousand dollars? You're a foot soldier who's been drafted in the war against high health costs.

A total of 16.4 million non-elderly adults have gained health insurance coverage since the Affordable Care Act became law five years ago this month. It's a reduction in the ranks of the uninsured the the Department of Health and Human Services called historic.

Buying health care in America is like shopping blindfolded at Macy's and getting the bill months after you leave the store, Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt likes to say.

But an online tool that went live Wednesday is supposed to help change that, giving patients in most parts of the country a small peek at the prices of medical tests and procedures before they open their wallets.

Got a sore knee? Having a baby? Need a primary-care doctor? Shopping for an MRI scan?

In health insurance prices, as in the weather, Alaska and the Sun Belt are extremes. This year Alaska is the most expensive health insurance market for people who do not get coverage through their employers, while Phoenix, Albuquerque, N.M., and Tucson, Ariz., are among the very cheapest.

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