Colorado Mountain Towns Pay Highest Health Premiums In U.s.

Incubator terrain park In Keystone, CO. Aaron Dodds, Vail Resorts

1. One 58-year-old Garfield man saw his monthly premium go from $352 a month, with a $1,500 deductible, to $1,041 a month, with a $5,000 deductible, Hutfless said. “That’s why people are outraged,” said Adam Fox, spokesman for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “They’re probably paying more than they should. But there is a certain reality that it is more expensive in those areas to provide health care. We don’t yet know the exact drivers of these higher costs.” The Kaiser study compared lowest-priced, midlevel or “silver” coverage plans for a 40-year-old person. For those in Colorado’s Rating Area 11, which includes Aspen and Vail ski resorts, monthly health insurance premiums range from $462 a month to $483. In Denver, that premium would be about $280. Lower-income residents will receive subsidies to help pay premiums, but consumer advocates fear some people will be shut out of the market. These higher costs are nothing new, Fox said. Some health insurers had kept their prices artificially lower in these areas by not providing the 10 “essential benefits” required under the Affordable Care Act.


Castaway goes to ground awaiting medical all-clear

Majuro (Marshall Islands) (AFP) – El Salvadoran castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga went to ground in the Marshall Islands Sunday, with phone calls blocked and escorts to and from his hotel room as he awaits medical clearance to travel home. Alvarenga, who washed up on remote Ebon Atoll in the Marshall Islands 11 days ago saying he had drifted for 13 months across the Pacific Ocean from Mexico, has been staying at the Marshall Islands Resort in Majuro after discharging himself from the hospital Friday. He has scarcely been seen since, with an official at the resort saying calls to Alvarenga’s room had been blocked at the government’s request. “Foreign Affairs has instructed us to tell callers if they want to talk to him they should call Foreign Affairs,” she said, confirming that the hotel had fielded many calls for the castaway. On the rare occasions Alvarenga has emerged since Friday he has been surrounded by a team of expatriate volunteer teachers who are staying in his room, safeguarding his apparent wish not to speak to the press about his ordeal at sea. Except for a brief thank you at a media conference Thursday, he has not spoken directly to any media organisation since early last week, despite intense public interest in his extraordinary tale. Majuro Hospital officials said Alvarenga was not happy at being bombarded by telephone calls at the hospital, and returned to his hotel room Friday after an overnight stay. Hospital medical chief of staff doctor Kennar Briand said Alvarenga’s doctor did not discharge him Friday. El Salvadoran castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga steps off a patrol boat with the help of a hospital n “He discharged himself,” said Briand. “He said he was getting too many calls from people claiming to be his relative.” Briand said his examinations and laboratory tests show Alvarenga’s health is improving, with a possible medical discharge on Monday. “On Monday, laboratory tests will be repeated and based on what happens, his doctor will decide the next steps,” Briand said. Briand has treated numerous drifters who washed into the Marshall Islands or were rescued at sea by fishing trawlers and brought to Majuro for medical care. “I don’t know if anyone has drifted for 13 months (and survived),” said Briand, who oversees medical services at the 80-bed hospital in the capital of the Marshall Islands. Some had arrived in extremely poor health after being lost at sea for less than half the time Alvarenga was, he said. He recalled the trio of Mexicans who survived a nine-month drift from Mexico across the Pacific in 2006 and were treated at Majuro Hospital when they arrived in the capital. “There were some suspicions” surrounding the Mexicans’ story and medical officials were asked to confirm that they had actually drifted for nine months before being picked up by a Marshall Islands fishing boat in the central Pacific, said Briand.

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Health news from Associated Press

company recalls 8.7 million pounds of meat A Northern California company is recalling more than 8.7 million pounds of beef products because it processed diseased and unhealthy animals without a full federal inspection, federal officials said Saturday. That’s a whole year’s worth of meat processed by Rancho Feeding Corp., which has been under scrutiny by the USDA … Updated: 12:17 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 Experts increasingly contemplate end of smoking U.S. health officials have begun to predict the end of cigarette smoking in America. They have long wished for a cigarette-free America, but shied away from calling for smoking rates to fall to zero or near zero by any particular year. The power of tobacco companies and popularity of their … Updated: 12:07 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 New figures given on Vt. health care system costs Vermont’s plan for a publicly funded single-payer health care system could cost the state $1.7 billion to $2.1 billion, according to revised estimates that state officials presented to lawmakers this week. Those figures fall between earlier estimates. One estimate by the University of Massachusetts on behalf of Gov. Peter Shumlin’s …

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