Health Care Reform

ACS Gets High Marks in State Rankings

The Aspen Community School is one of the top-ranked schools in the state according to a new analysis. The school near Woody Creek ranked 6th out of 500 middle schools. The organization Colorado School Grades releases its report card annually on nearly 2,000 public schools. The group uses data from the Colorado Department of Education and a formula developed at the University of Colorado Denver to come up with its rankings. The formula looks at a school’s academic achievement, academic growth and gaps in education. In 2014, the Aspen Community charter School received an “A-plus” for grades six through eight. Other schools in the Roaring Fork Valley received grades. The Aspen High School scored a “B-plus” and Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale received a “C,” as did Glenwood Springs High School. Bridges High School in Carbondale was one of the lowest scoring high schools in the state. A link for the full list can be found here.

Five employers efforts to improve health care and lower insurance costs is shifting into high gear. The group, known as the Valley Health Alliance, has a new Director and was part of a forum yesterday. Details on what the Alliance may try in the next year were discussed-- and mental health will be at the top of the list.

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

The Roaring Fork Valley is awash with fall colors this week.

Basalt puts together a commission to decide on a way to revitalize old town.

Health insurance rates are going down next year for some residents in the Glenwood Springs area. And that’s partly because some doctors and hospitals have agreed to get paid less.

U.S. Senate candidates in Colorado battle it out for the women’s vote in the November election.

And we look at the 35th annual Aspen Film Fest, opening this weekend.

Colorado Division of Insurance

Health insurance in the Glenwood Springs area will go down by nearly ten percent next year. That’s on average, and it’s compared to an overall average increase of about one percent across Colorado. State officials gave final approval for the lower rates this week. This comes after concerns about especially high insurance in the Roaring Fork Valley, and an earlier flawed attempt to let consumers review rates beforehand. 

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

Parents of students in the Roaring Fork School District may notice a few things are different this year.

Law enforcement officers are aiming to cut down on DUI’s… but there are limits on what they can do.

Colorado says it’s posted next year’s health insurance rates so people can find out whether they’ll be charged more… but it’s near impossible actually find those rates.

Water experts and decision makers are trying to figure out how to fairly divvy up Colorado River water if drought becomes a factor in the future.

And, now that recreational marijuana shops are open in Pitkin County, elected leaders are going over concerns, like accidental overdoses.

That’s all coming up on Mountain Edition... right now.

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

There were surprising new developments this week in an Aspen murder case. We’ll have the latest.

The Pitkin County Commissioners approve a stop-gap measure to prevent mega events in environmentally sensitive areas. A huge wedding on the back of Aspen mountain prompted the move.

In Aspen Governor Hickenlooper apologizes to law enforcement for mistakes made with the state’s new gun laws.

Several sheriffs in Aspen for a conference are concerned about legal marijuana.

And, employers are figuring out pot and drug policies for workers.

Finally, we check in with newly insured locals who purchased health insurance plans through the state exchange.

That’s all coming up on Mountain Edition... right now.

With just eight days until the Olympics start in Sochi...the Aspen community sends off four local athletes who will compete.

Health care prices in the Valley have been rising for years. Now, a handful of local employers are trying to improve worker’s health--and bring down costs.

Basalt’s setting a path for its future...in a non-traditional way. It’s using a method called “crowd-sourcing” to gather input on urban planning.

A new group in Aspen wants to make it easier for young people to stay in Aspen. City council approved the Next Generation Advisory Commission this week.

And, as Colorado’s population grows, the state’s water supply can’t keep up. A Basalt organization is involved in a statewide water plan.

Terrain parks are ubiquitous at ski resorts around the country. Now, there’s an effort to make them safer.

Finally, Aspen’s Torin Yater-Wallace is heading to the Olympics. The freeskier is recovering from injuries...but, says he’s ready to compete.

Colorado made history this week when retail marijuana stores around the state opened for business. People traveled across the country to stand in line at several Denver-area businesses.

Here in the Roaring Fork Valley, retail pot shops will open later this year. In the meantime, law enforcement is getting ready.

Aspen resident and Nordic skier Simi Hamilton also made history-- but in a totally different field. He’s the first American male to win a World Cup stage race. The win gets him closer to the Olympics.

Paying for health insurance is really expensive in the Roaring Fork Valley compared to most other places in Colorado. Now, Governor Hickenlooper says he may get involved in lowering premiums.

Garfield County believes the state did a bad job setting up the prices for those premiums. But some experts say insurance officials didn’t break the rules. We’ll hear from one expert who’s asking why medical care is so high in the Valley and other resort communities.

Finally, sometimes the the road to Sochi is especially difficult. Ski racer Wiley Maple’s efforts were cut short after an old injury flared up.

Office of Governor John Hickenlooper

    Governor John Hickenlooper says he could get involved with bringing down health insurance prices. That could have a real impact for residents of the Roaring Fork Valley and other mountain towns. Garfield County asked the state's top official earlier this month to intervene with high premiums. The County believes Colorado officials did a sloppy job earlier this year when coming up with prices. But some experts say the state didn't make any mistakes.

Rick Reinhard

  Healthcare premiums under the Affordable Care Act are more expensive in the Roaring Fork Valley than in many parts of the state. They’re high in other mountain counties, too. Governor John Hickenlooper may get involved in bringing down those prices. Garfield County has asked him to intervene, arguing state officials did a bad job earlier this year when coming up with rates. Aspen Public Radio asked a national healthcare expert if the state failed to follow the rules. Reporter Elise Thatcher spoke with Alan Weil.

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