health insurance

Your Evening News - February 11th, 2015

Feb 11, 2015

Carbondale Fire Meets Tonight on Future Funding

The future of the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District is slowly inching closer. The Board of Directors for the sprawling, struggling district is meeting tonight. Board members are finalizing the contracts for two consulting firms. Their main task is to help put together a master plan for Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District, which could run out of money in two years. Gene Schilling is President of the Board.

“We believe that once the master plan’s done, there will probably be some recommendations on the funding that we need to go forward with, to get the Fire District’s level of service back up to what it was before.”

The District covers more than three hundred square miles, and provides ambulance service along a busy stretch of Highway 82. It lost more than half of its budget in late 2013, when a big chunk of mill levy funding ran out. A ballot measure to reinstate that money failed.

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 Medical Society

Health insurance in the Roaring Fork Valley will be cheaper next year for some residents. The average premium will cost about seven percent less. For someone paying three hundred dollars a month, that’s about twenty dollars less for each payment. One reason for that is some doctors and hospitals are treating patients for less. And the state’s top association for physicians is worried that may have unintended consequences.

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.

Creative Commons/Flickr/401(K) 2012

Pitkin County staff and elected leaders will meet with the State’s top insurance official this week about pricey health insurance. A Kaiser Health News report says Colorado’s “rating area eleven” that covers Pitkin, Eagle, Garfield and Summit Counties, is the most expensive insurance market in the country. Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock says they’d like to see solutions.

The deadline for most Coloradans to get health insurance in 2014 is less than two weeks away and, efforts to get people covered is ramping up. Connect for Health Colorado will hold events in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Rifle over the next two weeks. 

Officials with the state-run health insurance exchange says 100,000 people have already purchased plans on their website and they expect a surge of interest as the deadline gets closer.

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.