Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How healthy is living in Colorado?

We might be a physically active state, but when it comes to healthcare Colorado isn’t in top shape. Nearly 17 percent of the state's population lacks health insurance. Colorado fell three spots from the 16th healthiest state in 2007 to #19 in 2008, according to a study by the United Health Foundation.

And now with businesses closing and downsizing more people will be losing their healthcare coverage. As we all know COBRA isn’t providing solutions. It’s expensive and designed only to offer temporary coverage.

Below are some resources that you need to know. Even if you have health care coverage, you should keep these on your radar. And are in danger of losing it or don’t currently have coverage I hope these will offer a starting point.
  • Benefits Checkup: Although the site focuses on services for those over 65, many of the programs are available to younger individuals as well. The site has a questionnaire that you can fill out to learn about a variety of state-based services for which you might qualify.

  • Government Health Care: In Colorado, the main programs are Medicaid and the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+). Generally, you can get coverage if you are pregnant, a parent with a child living at home, a person with a disability or a person who spends most of your income on health care.

    Children can often get coverage—even if their parents don’t qualify—because the income limits are usually higher for children. It depends on the size of the family and income. According to the Health Insurance Resource Center the levels are as follows:
    2 children—family income $27,380, or less
    3 children—family income $34,340, or less
    4 children—family income $41,300, or less

    (These income eligibility levels change each year. If your income is close to these levels, it’s worth it to apply.)

    Children with incomes close to these limits may not be able to enroll right away, even if they are eligible, but you should still apply if your child needs insurance.

    If you are pregnant and meet the income limits shown above, you can get coverage during your pregnancy and for up to 60 days after your baby is born. Often, your baby will then have guaranteed coverage for at least one year.
  • Free or Discounted Prescription Drug Programs--I’ve had personal experience with this one. My mother has MS and her weekly drugs. In her case the drug manufacturer provides steeply discounted drugs for her care. You may be eligible for a free or discounted prescription drug program through the company that makes the drugs you need. You can get more information about these programs at RxAssist and NeedyMeds.

    You might also contact the manufacturer directly.
    Pfizer Helpful Answers – Pfizer has a dedicated telephone and email to help patients e save on many Pfi zer medicines, no matter their age or income.

    Merck Patient Assistance and Prescription Discount Programs – These programs provide free and discounted Merck medicines to patients who cannot afford their prescribed medicines.

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