Category: Legislation - Part 3

Stuck in Colorado’s black hole

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Simultaneously excited to buy health insurance and fearful of a cancer relapse, health advocate Donna Smith tried to start shopping on Colorados health exchange on the first day. She soon struggled with computer glitches that prevented Smith and countless other hopeful customers from creating accounts in Colorado and on the federal exchange on Oct. 1. Smith kept trying and a few days later, managed to create an account. I thought, Oh, this is marvelous! Connect for Health Colorados online system then asked Smith if she wanted to try to qualify for financial assistance. Why not? She knew she wouldnt qualify…

Tepid recovery leaves one in seven uninsured

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon The number of uninsured people declined slightly in Colorado over the last two years as the economy began to rebound. But more than 741,000 people or one in seven Coloradans has remained uninsured while another 720,000 are underinsured, meaning that their out-of-pocket health costs exceed 10 percent of their income. Nearly half of the uninsured said theyve gone without health coverage for more than five years and one in 10 have never had it. We still have three-quarters of a million people who do not have insurance. Thats problematic, said Michele Lueck, president and CEO of…

Opinion: Opposition to Affordable Care Act could have consequences for millions

By Bob Semro One of the most significant roadblocks to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is the strident opposition that it faces. That opposition has been unrelenting and will have far-reaching impacts for millions of Americans for many, it will determine if they have access to affordable health care. There is a political component to the opposition, and it usually breaks along party lines, but the opposition shows that, after years of debate, there remains a strong philosophical, emotional and ideological divide around health care reform. Since passage of the law in 2010, the House of Representatives has…

Opinion: Rep. Polis needs to recall his commitment to health care justice

By Donna Smith Solutions last week reported that U.S. Congressman Jared Polis, D-Boulder, will seek waivers from the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare insurance purchase mandate for his constituents living in some of the mountain towns. These waivers would relieve many people from paying the high premiums for health insurance coverage available on the ACA exchanges that reflect the mountain counties overall wealth and health care costs. Many of the people who most need coverage in those communities cannot afford the high premiums. Rep. Polis is forgetting the simplest and most humane way to solve this problem is not to waive the requirement to purchase insurance coverage. The best way to solve the problem…

Opinion: Costs still out of control even if Obamacare succeeds

By Francis M. Miller The implementation of Obamacare is taking on the appearance of the fog of war described by Clausewitz . Obamacares advocatesare self-righteous in pressing for implementation. The loyal opposition conservatives are skirmishing and employing guerrilla tactics. They hope the law will fail of its own accord. The problem with this drama-of-the-gifted is that it obscures health cares central issue and begsseveral really important questions. By now even the most fervent advocate of Obamacare has to admit that this law will do nothing to bend the cost curve. Hyperinflation in the health sector has been the dominant issue for…

Under ACA, wellness dropouts could feel the burn

By Elise Oberliesen For decades, corporations have experimented with wellness programs in an attempt to improve their employees health and reduce the cost of health insurance. Lunch-hour yoga classes, free flu shots, smoking cessation programs and other offerings have often been provided, occasionally with incentives for participants. Now, as additional elements of the Affordable Care Act are implemented, organizations and their employees will have new encouragement to get in the game. Starting with health insurance policies effective Jan. 1, 2014, losing weight, controlling cholesterol, quitting smoking or even just attempting to achieve better health could be profitable. In some states,…

Opinion: Noise over ACA shouldn’t distract seniors from Medicare enrollment

By Bob Semro If you are an American over 65, you may have questions about the new health care law, what it means for you and what you need to do. The short answer is that very little changes, and most seniors will not have to do anything. Some meaningful changes have already occurred, such as the shrinking of the prescription drug donut hole, but most of the major reforms in the Affordable Care Act, such as the new health insurance marketplaces and penalties for not having coverage, simply do not affect seniors. However, an important open-enrollment period (which has…

Thousands look, 226 buy during exchange debut

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Colorados new health exchange has attracted thousands of visitors since its launch on Oct. 1, but only 226 pulled the trigger and bought insurance as Obamacare officially launched. High traffic to the Connect for Health Colorado website caused technology glitches that prevented many people from being able to create accounts immediately after the exchange launched. Those problems continued through last week and prompted two unscheduled shutdowns to reboot the exchanges software, technology managers said. Even so, as of Friday, about 28,000 people have created accounts and about 204,000 unique visitors have surfed the site that offers…

Young and not so invincible

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon BOULDER The hottest targets for health insurance this fall are the so-called young invincibles. Its no coincidence that an upstart selling some of the lowest-priced plans that might appeal to young people in Colorado, the Colorado HealthOP, deployed beautiful young models to try to make the decidedly unalluring topic of health insurance sexy. Buff, shirtless men and nearly naked young women prowled downtown Denvers 16th Street Mall last week as Colorados health exchange opened. They wore little more than signs reading: Without health insurance, youre exposed: #GetCoveredCO. Less sexy street teams working directly for the states health exchange, Connect for Health Colorado,

Ads target young invincibles for ‘CYA’ insurance

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Minnesota went for humor. Its ads promoting the states new health exchange show a klutzy Paul Bunyan, crashing while water skiing, nailing his thigh with an axe and tumbling off his roof. The tag line: Minnesota: Land of 10,000 reasons to get health insurance. (Click here to see the water skiing ad.) Oregon could have spoofed the hilarity of Portlandia, but instead, went oddly locavore and featured Oregon musicians in ads critics have panned as trippy. Cover Oregons tag line: Long Live Oregonians. (Click here to see Live Long in Oregon). California focuses on its beautiful scenery. Covered…