Health

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a public health alert for raw chicken packaged at three Foster Farms facilities in California.  That’s after 278 people have fallen ill. 

The Salmonella outbreak has spread to 18 states including Idaho.  Niki Forbing-Orr is with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.  She says two people in Idaho got sick in April and June, but neither person reported eating chicken. So it’s unclear how they got the same bacteria. 

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Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Seven days after Idaho's online health insurance exchange launched, the organization's director says there are still problems with the website, but it's working slowly.

Your Health Idaho Director Amy Dowd told state lawmakers. Idaho is building its own website, but for now, the state is using the federal portal.

What You Need To Know About Idaho's Health Insurance Exchange

Oct 1, 2013
Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idahoans who don’t have health insurance can now start to shop for and buy insurance through the state’s online marketplace which launches today.

Nearly 19 percent of Idaho’s population under the age of 65 don’t have health insurance. Up to 200,000 Idahoans could be eligible for the subsidized health insurance or Medicaid through the state exchange.

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Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The board overseeing Idaho's health insurance exchange has given its approval to the security system designed to protect consumer financial and personal information.

The 19-member board certified the security system Monday — one day before the exchange will go live.

Meanwhile, insurance agents are wondering if the online marketplace will pose any benefit to their businesses.

Exchange director Amy Dowd contends the exchange is an opportunity for agents and brokers to gain a share of the 200,000 people estimated to shop for policies.

Idaho's $70 million insurance exchange starts Tuesday for as many as 200,000 people in the state to enroll via the Internet for federally subsidized insurance, a key component to President Barack Obama's health overhaul.

Just don't expect to see an immediate marketing blitz: Television, newspaper and other ads due to cost $3.5 million initially won't be ready until mid-October.

Idaho's insurance exchange lost its only for-profit health insurer, cutting nearly 10 percent of the marketplace's coverage offerings even before the Internet marketplace opens its doors Tuesday.

Altius Health Plans was slated to have 15 different policies on the Idaho exchange.

With its exit, only 146 health and dental insurance policies will be offered.

Altius' departure, coming after its parent company was purchased by insurance giant Aetna, cuts into one of the Idaho exchange's goals.

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Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idahoans will be able to shop for and purchase insurance on the state's new health insurance exchange beginning Oct. 1. Under the federal health law, most Americans will be required to have health insurance coverage by Jan. 1, 2014, or they'll face a tax penalty.

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Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Federal officials insist people who enroll in Idaho's Internet health insurance marketplace starting Tuesday shouldn't fear for their personal-data privacy.

That's despite last-minute concerns among some foes of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul that more must be done to protect privacy.

New advisories from health officials in Washington and Oregon warn that some fish in the Columbia River aren’t safe to eat.

Chobani, Greek Yogurt
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Food and Drug Administration reports at least 89 people have reported getting sick after eating Chobani Greek yogurt manufactured in Twin Falls, Idaho.

FDA spokeswoman Tamara Ward told The Times-News on Monday that some have described nausea and cramps.

No link has been confirmed between the illnesses and the yogurt. However, Ward says the FDA is working with Chobani to hasten its voluntary recall.

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Yogurt maker Chobani says the mold that triggered a recall of some of its Greek yogurt cups this week is not associated with foodborne illnesses like salmonella or E. coli.

The company identified the mold Friday as a common species that usually affects fruits, vegetables and other plants. It has also been linked to previous cases of spoiled yogurt.

Cornell University Professor Randy Worobo says the mold "should not pose a health risk to most consumers." Worobo is a professor of food science.

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network will screen a new movie in Boise Thursday to help raise funds for people who face breast and ovarian cancer.

The movie Decoding Annie Parker stars Helen Hunt and Idaho actor Aaron Paul. 

Jennifer Poole with the American Cancer Society says the film is based on real events. “It’s about the journey of research doctor and a breast cancer patient, to determine there is a genetic connection for some woman as to why they get breast cancer and ovarian cancer.”

Medical, Health Care
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idahoans will have 161 health insurance plans to choose from on the state's health insurance exchange.  The online insurance marketplace, required under the Affordable Care Act, will start enrolling people in October. The plans take effect in January.  

Eight Idaho insurance companies will offer 76 individual health plans, 55 small group plans for businesses, 13 individual dental plans, and 17 small group dental plans.  

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Yogurt maker Chobani notified stores over the weekend to pull potentially spoiled product from its shelves, but a Costco representative said the company received reports from retailers about tainted product two or three weeks ago.

Craig Wilson is vice president of quality assurance for Costco Wholesale Corp. He told The Times-News that Costco pulled Chobani yogurt manufactured in Twin Falls from its shelves in the San Francisco Bay area and the Northwest region weeks ago and is only accepting yogurt from the company's East Coast plant.

Map: Rural Idaho Counties Have Largest Share Of Uninsured People

Aug 29, 2013
Map, insurance
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The number of uninsured Idahoans has dropped to its lowest level since 2007. Data released Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau shows 18.9 percent of Idahoans under the age of 65 didn't have health insurance in 2011. That marks a decline in the share of uninsured Idahoans since 2010 when the rate was 20.3 percent.

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