Deadline to get health insurance in Colorado is Jan. 12 | SteamboatToday.com

Deadline to get health insurance in Colorado is Jan. 12

Yampa Valley Health

There is still time to get health insurance. The deadline to enroll in or renew a health insurance plan in Colorado is Jan. 12. There are tax penalties for not having health insurance: $695 per person or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is greater. Individuals and families may qualify for financial assistance to help pay for premiums. Free, in-person assistance is available. Call Northwest Colorado Health at 970-871-7330 or UC Health at Yampa Valley Medical Center at 970-879-1322. For more information and resources, visit northwestcoloradohealth.org/healthinsurance.

Free breast exams available for qualified women

Women who are age 40 to 64 and have limited or no health insurance may qualify for free breast exams and cervical cancer screenings. In addition to meeting age and income requirements, women must live in Colorado, be legal residents (or legally present) in the U.S. and have not had a mammogram or Pap test in the last 12 months. Women’s Wellness Connection is a program at Northwest Colorado Health. For more information, visit northwestcoloradohealth.org/wwc or call 970-879-1632.

Take precautions to avoid foodborne illness

Each year, one in six Americans becomes ill as a result of consuming foods or beverages contaminated with disease-causing microbes or pathogens. Northwest Colorado Health recommends the following precautions to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

• Always wash hands with soap and water before preparing food.

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• Cook meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to measure internal temperature of meat.

• Wash hands, utensils and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry and before they touch another food.

• Refrigerate leftovers that won’t be eaten within four hours. Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature.

• Wash produce in running tap water. Remove outermost leaves of a lettuce or cabbage. Bacteria can grow well on the cut surface of a fruit or vegetable. Take care not to contaminate produce while slicing on a cutting board, and don’t leave cut produce out for many hours.

• Keep food away from flies and insects.

Common symptoms of foodborne illness include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever and chills. Avoid preparing food for others if you have these symptoms.

Pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe infections and should not consume undercooked animal products. Contact a healthcare provider if foodborne illness is suspected. For more information, visit cdc.gov/foodsafety/facts.

Northwest Colorado Health program helps pregnant women quit tobacco

Northwest Colorado Health’s Baby and Me Tobacco Free program helps expectant moms quit tobacco with prenatal smoking cessation sessions and incentives. Smoking during pregnancy increases risk of miscarriagepremature birth, birth defects and infant death. Program participants who quit smoking, remain smoke free and attend monthly smoking cessation sessions during pregnancy and for a year after their baby is born receive vouchers for free diapers. For more information, call Hope Cook at 970-871-7622.