March 31 deadline looms for uninsured Moffat, Routt County residents

Advertisement

— The end of the month marks a date that, if ignored, could have significant repercussions for people all across the country.

Northwest Colorado insurance numbers

Estimated uninsured residents in 2012

Moffat County: 2,569

Routt County: 3,458

Source: 2008-12 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey

Residents who have registered for insurance through Connect for Health Colorado since Oct. 1

Moffat County: 142

Routt County: 967

Residents who have registered for Medicaid since Oct. 1

Moffat County: 415

Routt County: 596

The deadline to apply for insurance coverage through Connect for Health Colorado or other insurance providers is March 31.

March 31 is the deadline to register for health insurance, which, for residents of the Centennial State, can mean going through the Connect for Health Colorado marketplace if you don’t already have coverage.

Data collected from 2008 to 2012 by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows 19 percent of Moffat County's populace and 15 percent of Routt County's population were uninsured, which translates to an estimated 2,569 residents for Moffat and 3,458 for Routt.

Connect for Health Colorado recently released statistics stating more than 100,000 people in the state have registered with their marketplace, but those details also relay that the six-digit number includes 142 people from Moffat County and 967 from Routt who signed up between Oct. 1 and March 8.

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing shows an increased number of eligible people enrolling for Medicaid in the state — 415 for Moffat and 596 for Routt. Medicaid is available to Colorado residents at less than 138 percent of the poverty level.

With more than 6,000 people uninsured between the two counties in 2012, and about 2,100 now covered, the question remains whether nearly 4,000 Northwest Colorado residents have sought out their own unique plans through insurance companies or have opted to do nothing.

Part of it simply has to do with the perception that health insurance is a luxury, said Erin Gleason, community and small business health insurance coordinator for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.

She added the difficulty that comes with the nature of insurance is it doesn’t seem necessary until you actually need it.

“If we could all just get it whenever we wanted to, we’d only have it when we were sick or when something was wrong with us,” she said. “Unfortunately, it can’t exist if you only put in a little bit of money and take out a lot of money.”

Subsidies for those who register through Connect for Health can cover a large portion of the cost of an insurance policy — providing they qualify.

A single individual must have an annual income of less than $45,960 and be ineligible for Medicare benefits, as well as not have coverage available through their job. If married — which raises the maximum yearly income to $62,040 — they also must be unable to receive coverage from their spouse’s employer.

For each person in a family, the income level is raised by $16,080.

The tax credits that come from this status can be used to lower the monthly cost of a health plan from Connect for Health. About 58 percent of the customers use the advance tax credits, and in some instances, it can account for as much as two-thirds of premium costs.

“It dramatically reduces the cost of what they might have been used to,” Gleason said. “We’re hoping it means they’ll actually go and see a doctor and take care of some of the issues that were piling up.”

However, those who don’t qualify still can find themselves responsible for a big payment, Gleason said.

One of the reasons for that is Moffat and Routt, as well as most counties on the Western Slope, are part of Geographical Rating Area 10, which is determined by state demographics such as available providers and the amount of coverage an insurer has in the area.

Isolation in the region and a limited number of medical options lead to higher prices, Gleason said.

“It really affects rural counties,” she said.

Gleason added that Area 11, encompassing Eagle, Garfield, Pitkin and Summit counties, has “the highest prices in the whole country.”

A press release from Colorado Division of Insurance said those who can afford coverage and have not yet purchased a plan through Connect for Health or directly from an insurance company — or already have the benefits covered by a plan through work or Medicare benefits — by March 31 face the “tax liability” of $95 or 1 percent of their yearly household income, whichever is greater.

More importantly, those who remain uninsured after the deadline will go months before being able to get coverage, Gleason said.

“A lot of people don’t seem to understand that,” she said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

Comments

Dan Shores 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Andy, please tell us what if anything is being done to make coverage affordable for residents of mountain towns. It is irresponsible of you, in my opinion, to publish this story without mentioning the outrageous price difference between insurance for residents of mountain towns and residents of more populated areas such as Denver. The premium for my wife and myself with the least expensive Bronze Plan is over $1,200.00 per month. When I get an estimate using a Denver area code the premium is fully half that amount. $1,200.00 per month is an outrageous amount and I don't know of anyone who could afford to pay this. I am not eligible for the subsidy and there is still no way I could possibly afford to pay $1,200.00 per month! We need to know what is being done about this before we can possibly imagine enrolling.

1

Chris Hadlock 7 months, 2 weeks ago

"Obamacare cost me more money but I refuse to use the exchange."

Self fulfilling prophecy there Steve. For someone who touts themselves as a "fact" oriented scientist, I would think you could bring specific examples, but I guess you don't have any?

Pretty poor commentary when you cannot show us even a single example of a exchange related IT theft now can you.............. Stick to the science where at least you have some documentation to debate with. On this subject, you expose your political bias with talking points and opinion instead of "fact".

My personal experience with Health Insurance over the last 15 years is in direct conflict with your stated "opinion" that health care premiums are rising at the fastest rate ever. Since the Passage of the ACA, my personal health insurance premiums have actually been reduced. I still use the same doctors and take the same medications, and no, I do not qualify for any subsidies.

You can argue the opposite all you would like, but my personal checkbook register shows a different story and in my families budget that matters more than your opinion.

1

Neil O'Keeffe 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Good luck with that one Chris, it is always going to be a conspiracy or ideological rant with no interest of ever finding a middle or offering anything constructive. Have to give the far right some credit in that they are united with their diatribe and are on the attack 24/7. As far as contributing anything constructive that may actually move the discussion forward or solve a problem well now that is a completely different matter. It is far easier to criticize or be negative than it is make efforts to finding solutions to things like healthcare, immigration, jobs, education, infrastructure... This is the entire Republican platform and in the end we all get what we deserve.

0

Neil O'Keeffe 7 months, 2 weeks ago

...they may be able to win local elections with there gerrymandering and voter suppression but locally this will never be a winning platform for a national election. Unfortunately for the country that means we will be subject to their same twisted logic and obstruction for the next 6+ years. No wonder people are fed up with politics and that is just the way the plutocracy wants it. As a famous president once said "a nation divided on itself can not stand." the eight count has already begun.

0

Neil O'Keeffe 7 months, 2 weeks ago

A single payor system/universal healthcare for all, much like Medicare for all. Are you one of those angry citizens that wants to keep the government out of your Medicare? Too funny!

How about taking the profit out of what should be an inalienable right as does every other industrialized nation of the world. Is that what is really meant by the term American Exceptionalism ? Put that in your free-market pipe and smoke it! Talk about kicking the hornets nest.

0

Harvey Lyon 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Well, the director of Colorado's ACA reportedly makes nearly $200k plus bonuses.

Not sure that's making for affordable health care.

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_25363823/exchange-salaries-high?source=most_viewed#axzz2wSEcYdTu

0

jerry carlton 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Ecclesiastes 10:2 explains it all in one short sentence.

0

Dan Shores 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Wonder what kind of scientist you are Steve. Some kind of crazy mad scientist living in a cave somewhere. Wow, you sure got the party line down to a science. Maybe that's your area of scientific study. Whine, moan and complain about pretty much everything yet offer zero solutions to any problem. What solution has your scientific mind come up with to provide health insurance to those with pre-existing conditions. This is the point that always seems to get lost in the right wings paranoid fantasies. The main reason for the implementation of the ACA was to compel insurers to provide coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. The individual mandate is a REPUBLICAN idea. The President was against the idea and favored a single payer system that would have controlled cost but your party blocked that idea. So now you have your favorite free market system at work and insurance companies have free rein to charge whatever they want. Andy, please tell us what if anything is being done to control the outrageous cost of health insurance in mountain towns. It's no fair to tell us about the deadline to enroll and not include something about the cost.

1

Neil O'Keeffe 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Siting scripture, now that about sums it up. You want government out of just about everything but your religion. Irony abounds!

0

Neil O'Keeffe 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Why don't you run for office Steve, you seem to have an abundance of opinions. This may be the only way for you to realize that your opinions are shared by a shrinking minority of individuals. Have fun on that island of yours!

0

Neil O'Keeffe 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Or any where else, except maybe Texas. You and that "Whacko Bird" Ted Cruz seem to have much in common.

0

mark hartless 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Dan sats:

"The President was against the idea and favored a single payer system that would have controlled cost but your party blocked that idea."

The President had BOTH branches of congress for 2 years, Dan. How, exactly did the out-of-power party "block" it???

Ke goes on to say:

"So now you have your favorite free market system at work and insurance companies have free rein to charge whatever they want." I'd just LOVE to hear Dan's definition of "free market system" if he thinks THAT is what is currentlky at work.

You guys are like a bunch of children and not very bright children) who did what they were told would harm them, got harmed, and now blame everybody but yourselves.

The Democrat party ALONE owns this cluster called Obamacare, Dan; it's all on you, pal.

1

David Moore 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I work in healthcare...I pay over $700 a month for a crap policy that does not pay for anything, which went UP $75 since the introduction of the AHA. I am healthy and have no issues, I think it would be easier to take just the $95 penalty and go with it.

1

Dan Shores 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm shocked Steve, you actually got something right. Yes medical care is extremely expensive here in Steamboat and I too travel to Denver for medical care. So we have identified a problem. The next step, find a solution other than moving to Denver which is not a solution. You could not have been lacking medical care just over a year ago because of the ACA. The law hadn't taken effect yet, but nice try. No one makes their premium payments to the President so blaming him for your problem is crazy. Insurance companies are to blame and the failed free market system is to blame. A system that failed to provide a necessary product, insurance for those with pre-existing conditions, and that is the reason government had to step in via the ACA. Medicade does not provide coverage unless you are poor. No republican plan has been presented to date that covers pre-existing conditions. Republicans have lied though and said their latest attempt did cover pre-existing conditions but they conveniently forgot to add that it only covers you if you already have insurance. Just a little omission. I agree with Neil, I think you would be much happier living in Texas Steve, where you could live among your own kind. Marc, the republican party did block the single payer system even though they were a minority in both houses but the President at that point thought he could compromise with republicans so he agreed to go with their plan, the individual mandate. The free market is at work with no price control in place so that's why prices are out of line. Consumers are compelled to buy a product and in my view since they are compelled to do so, the balance of supply and demand has been artificially influenced and therefore price controls or a single payer system should be in place. Marc I'm still waiting to here your plan to cover people with pre-existing conditions. Thank goodness ya'll are a tiny minority. Andy, still waiting to hear from you!!!!!!

1

Chris Hadlock 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Republicans like to Crow that the ACA was passed without a single Republican vote. However, that "truth" is just another Republican talking point and the actual "truth" is somewhat different.

The reality is although the bill did not receive any Republican votes during the final passage, it did REQUIRE multiple Republican Senators and Congressmen to actually vote yes to the ACA in order to move it thru the various committees before final passage.

So while it is true that no Republicans voted for the ACA during the final vote, they were absolutely involved in the Bill's design and several of them voted yes to move the bill out of committee where they could have killed it completely. Disingenuous talking points.

Had the ACA been a pure Democratic product there would have been both a single payer and/or a public option but those were taken out to appease the Republican votes that were required to move the bill forward. We would be in a much better place today had either of those choices been included in the final bill.

1

mark hartless 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I was driving to the jobsite one day back a couple decades ago with 2 of my employees.

As the truck jostled, the hapless kid in the center seat let his soda slosh all over my fairly new truck dashboard.

I said "Stop spilling Coke on my truck, Tony."

Boldly and without hesitation he retorted, "I'm NOT... it's Dr. Pepper!"

Did Tony know how ridiculous he sounded??? Does Chris??

"Success has many fathers; failure is an orphan."

1

Dan Shores 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Yes Marc, just continue to deny facts and continue to live your fantasy world. OK by me.

1

mark hartless 7 months, 2 weeks ago

There are 4,400 words in the US Constitution. There are 863,000 in the Holy Bible. There are 11,588,500 in Obamacare. It is not I woh is living in "fantasy land", Dan...

0

Kevin Nerney 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Dan- how about this for a solution. Lets put all those with a pre-existing condition into a high risk pool (like car insurance) and then require Drs. to treat a percentage of their practice from this pool. Just like lawyers work off their school loans doing pro bono work as defense attorneys Drs. can do the same thing a win- win for all and the rest of us can continue on as before ACA.

0

Kevin Nerney 7 months, 2 weeks ago

NO of course not. I'm all for free market capitalism. I've never gotten anything for free in my life. I don't agree that Social Security is an entitlement, it's my money give it back to me with interest and I'll be on my way. I wouldn't expect the doctors to work for free but somehow the doctors have been left out of the equation between the patient(us), the insurance co. and the govt. My previous post was just a suggestion and I'm no rocket scientist by any means.

1

jerry carlton 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Neil Did you read Ecclesiastes 10:2?

Steve I agree with 99% of what you say, but I paid my money and my employers paid their money into SS for 51 years. I f I do not receive what they told me I would, I think this manure for brains government should be destroyed and let anarchy reign. If I had been allowed to retain my money for the last 51 years, I would be a multimillionaire as I was a saver. No one voted for SS but Congress as far as I know.

1

Kevin Nerney 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Steve, I don't want to pass on anything to anyone for no reason or for any reason, I was just suggesting that the Doctors' in this country should have some skin in the game with this Health Care Debacle. The rest of us are getting royally screwed and I would like to have the Drs. at the orgy. Would make me very happy if the entire 2700 pages of ACA was revoked but since that is not likely I was merely making a suggestion (we all know what opinions are like and we all have one).

Entitlement - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster ... www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/en... Merriam‑Webster the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something. : the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges). : a type of ... I don't have a right to get something or a belief that I deserve anything that doesn't belong to me and I agree SS is not a retirement plan ( I already have one of those) but it is my money and I want it back. I don't want to bankrupt the system I will even settle for straight cash no interest but I'll be damned if the powers that be get a free ride and walk away scott free.

0

Dan Shores 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Again to all the critics, lots of whining, moaning, complaining, sounds like day care. At least Kevin thought a little about a possible solution to the problem of pre-existing conditions. The rest of you and Steve Mendell in particular seem to be really good at only one thing, complaining. That's it. Oh and by the way Steve, I'm not you pal........buddy! Of course you are so filled with hate for everything government, you wouldn't dream of finding solutions. You don't even think there is any problem to find a solution to. At least Marc has admitted that he is an anarchist and his solution is to eliminate all government. Ask yourself this fundamental question instead of changing the subject and spewing a bunch of B.S., should access to health insurance for all Americans, pre-existing conditions or not, be the "right" of every citizen, or should access be a "privilege" that only some can enjoy. Kevin already said in a previous post that it is a privilege so what say the rest of you whiners. If you believe that it is a privilege then of course you would be angry and want things to go back to the way they were before the ACA. Then you can just pretend, like Steve loves to do, that your insurance premiums weren't going up every year and only did so because of the ACA, even though you couldn't be bothered to shop around for a cheaper policy. It's so much easier to just blame the President and or the "government" for everything that goes wrong with your life. On the other hand if you believe that it should be the "right" of every citizen, then help to find solutions to the cost problem which is indeed a HUGE problem that must be solved for the ACA to be successful. The two main goals of the ACA are to provide access to health insurance for ALL americans and to control the cost. That's why it called the "affordable"care act. The affordable part has certainly not worked out and this problem will have to be solved and if not, all of you complainers and deniers will get your wish.

0

Dan Shores 7 months, 1 week ago

Just keep pretending Steve. It's OK. You don't need to live in the real world. Just keep being paranoid and inventing conspiracy theories about how the government and the President and everyone for that matter, is conspiring against you and coming after your money and all your stuff. Shows how self centered and arrogant you are. You and Marc should get together and build a shelter somewhere, maybe out in the woods and fill it with a bunch of food and canned water and guns and ammo and you'll be all set for when the government comes to get you. Just sayin.

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.