News - Part 2

Polis fights sky-high rates as ski town signups stall

by My Canadian Pharmacy Health insurance rates in mountain resort areas in Colorado proved to be so high that the USA representative Martin Polis tries to get waivers from the government – in this case, people who do not buy insurance in 2015 won’t have any financial fires. “We will try to get a waiver. Summit County residents will find it difficult to become insured. The majority of people consider a price too high” said Polis. This idea greatly disappointed health coverage guides who work to involve Summit County residents in new health plans using Colorado’s health exchange. They did not manage to…

Want Tax Credits? You won’t Get them Online

Organized to the public as a Travelocity-style marketplace online for health insurance, Colorado’s new health care exchange won’t let customers acquire online tax credits for at least the first month. Colorado health care exchange leaders disclosed Monday during a council board that clients who desire tax credits to arrange health care insurance more accessible will have to seek assistance, rather than assigning the multi-million dollar computer system on their own. One of the core audiences for the new health care exchange is “young unconquerable,” healthy 20-somethings, many of whom favour to make an investigation and purchase everything from athletic shoes to college tuition online. Even customers cooperating with hundreds of individual navigators of…

Insurance carriers vow equal coverage for transgender patients

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon The Colorado Association of Health Plans has become the first trade group of its kind in the nation to promise equal coverage for transgender patients. Colorado is always first in health care. It seems like were right out front, said Ben Price, the associations executive director. As far as industry trade groups, I havent heard of another group that has done this yet. I know a few are looking at it. As shopping for health plans intensifies before next weeks deadline to get coverage starting on Jan. 1, Price released a statement assuring customers that exclusions will no longer apply. We…

Cancer patient’s insurance still on hold

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Cancer patient Donna Smith is stuck in limbo again. Smith has been trying to buy health insurance through Colorados exchange since opening day on Oct. 1. She worries now that she might not have her new health insurance on Jan. 1 as she had hoped. Smith, 58, is a two-time cancer survivor now facing a relapse. Its frightening. Its maddening, said Smith. I cant go without insurance. Back in October, Smith struggled to create an account because Colorados exchange, Connect for Health Colorado , had some IT glitches when it launched. A few days later, Smith filled out an extremely…

Enrollments, wait times jump

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Enrollments in Colorados health exchange jumped in December with an additional 5,094 people signing up for private health insurance during the first eight days of the month, according to exchange officials. But enrollments remain well below Connect for Health Colorados lowest projections and managers are now considering revising those projections downward. (Click here to see projections.) In the meantime, wait times to talk with a customer service agent at the exchanges call center have increased to 30 to 40 minutes. Theyre long, exchange CEO and Executive Director Patty Fontneau conceded during a Monday board meeting. Long wait times and other snafus concerned board…

Exchange boss withdraws request for pay hike

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon The head of Colorados health exchange is withdrawing a request for a raise. The attention about my compensation has been a distraction at a time when we are all focused on helping Coloradans enroll in health coverage, Patty Fontneau, the CEO and executive director of Colorados health exchange said in a written statement Friday. We have asked the board to table any discussions about compensation for management, so that we can focus on enrollments during this critical time, Fontneau said. Its unclear from the statement whether any other exchange staffers will be eligible for annual pay…

‘Don’t give up,’ commissioner urges angry ski resort residents

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon FRISCO Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar wants to reduce high health costs in mountain resort communities, but cant fix anything until 2015. Salazar met with a standing-room crowd of irate Summit County residents on Thursday to hear their concerns and explore solutions for health insurance rates that are up to three times higher than other parts of the state. The area is home to several of Colorados premier ski resorts including Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Arapahoe Basin. Congressman Jared Polis, D-Boulder, who represents this region, earlier told Solutions he will seek waivers so people in…

PR tab of $118,000 included push to control board

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Colorados health exchange has paid nearly $120,000 this year for outside PR advice that included discouraging members of the oversight board from talking about the exchange as it launched. So far this year, Connect for Health Colorado has paid about $118,100 to the Denver firm, OnSight Public Affairs . A contract between the exchange and the firm calls for $15,000 per month in payments from September through November, $13,000 a month from April through August and $9,000 per month for January through March. The contract called for about 60 hours of work per month in exchange for the monthly retainers. The exchange also…

Health detectives use house calls, ‘hotspotting’ to cut costs

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon AURORA The red cross on the hospital emergency sign shines like a beacon of hope. Some new refugees from Africa who are utterly perplexed by U.S. hospitals come seeking basic needs like food and diapers. One Aurora man kept showing up at University of Colorado Hospital for a variety of medical ailments. Providers treated and released him, but over and over, no one figured out the root of his problem. Finally, a team from a new program called Bridges to Care visited the man in his home and the answer was obvious. His sweltering apartment nearly suffocated them. Yeah,…

Canceled plans won’t be resurrected in Colorado

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Colorado is joining about a dozen other states that are not requiring health insurance companies to revive canceled health plans. Those states include California, Washington, Vermont and New York, according to the lobbying group, Americas Health Insurance Plans. Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar on Tuesday said that more than 95 percent of the 250,000 people in Colorado who received cancellation notices have had the option to renew their old plans and continue them into 2014 if they chose to do so. For those whose plans were canceled, Salazar said that insurance carriers will not have to reinstate the plans. President…