Health

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.

cow
Ambersky235 / Flickr Creative Commons

Two Idaho cattle operations have agreed to stop drugging cows at high enough levels that the medications could pass to humans after a federal lawsuit.

Mosquito
Gamma Man / Flickr Creative Commons

A southwestern Idaho woman has become the eighth person statewide this year to be diagnosed with West Nile Virus, a mosquito-borne illness that can cause health problems.

The woman is from Ada County, but the Central District Health Department says she was likely infected to the north, in Valley County, where she spends her weekends.

Concerns about the outbreak this year have escalated.

Ada County Weed and Pest Control conducted aerial spraying for mosquitoes last week.

Northwest Rafting Company / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho health officials are trying to determine what is causing the gastrointestinal illness that has affected commercial and private rafters on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, as well as fire personnel.

Mike Taylor, an epidemiologist with the Eastern Idaho Public Health District, tells the Idaho Statesman that river guides have fallen ill and a Forest Service weed control crew had to be flown out after getting sick.

Idaho officials have launched a website for the state's health insurance exchange.

The Spokesman-Review reports that Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Idaho Exchange Executive Director Amy Dowd announced the website at a news conference Tuesday.

States are required to have such a website under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Anne Jefferey / InciWeb

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is warning people in the Wood River Valley to stay indoors and avoid physical activity. This comes after smoke from nearby wildfires has engulfed the area. The Beaver Creek Fire is burning just southwest of Ketchum in the Sawtooth National Forest.

Alex E. Proimos / Flickr Creative Commons

The Spokesman-Review reported Sunday that the Legislature’s decision to build an entirely state-based exchange in March came too late. Jody Olson with the Idaho Health Insurance Exchange says for the first year, Idaho will use some federal resources to maintain the state’s health exchange website.

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

Idaho’s health insurance exchange picked up more than $20 million today.  The grant came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

The exchange’s executive director, Amy Dowd, said the money will help Idaho build its own online health insurance marketplace.

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

Five companies will offer health insurance via Idaho's online marketplace for individuals and small businesses to get coverage.

The Idaho Statesman reports the companies offering insurance over the insurance exchange are Altius, Blue Cross of Idaho, BridgeSpan, PacificSource and SelectHealth.

BridgeSpan was created by Regence Blue Shield.

No prices have been announced for the 134 plans, but the average is $240 monthly, according to an earlier announcement.

Breast feeding, baby
JCarter / Flickr Creative Commons

Health officials say breast-feeding rates continue to inch up: Now more than 3 in 4 mothers try to breast-feed their newborns.

Breast-feeding rates remain highest in Idaho (91.8 percent) and lowest in Mississippi (50.5 percent). Experts attribute that to regional differences in culture and workplace policies that support breast-feeding.

Drugs, substance abuse
Ed Wohlfahrt / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal government is chipping in another $1.5 million annually over the next five years to help Idaho's efforts to fight substance abuse.

The state Office of Drug Policy announced the total $7.5 million grant on Monday.

Elisha Figueroa, administrator of the Office of Drug Policy, says the cash will help bolster community-level substance abuse prevention strategies and improve Idaho's prevention infrastructure.

Nearly $500 million.

That’s how much the federal government has awarded Washington, Oregon and Idaho to create health benefit exchanges. These are the new web portals to purchase insurance under the Affordable Care Act. It’s a costly undertaking that involves six-figure salaries, hefty IT contracts and high-end advertising campaigns.

If a green, talking gecko can sell car insurance, then maybe Portland-based folk singer Laura Gibson can sell health insurance.

Health coverage policies sold via Idaho's insurance exchange will cost an average of $240 per month, a figure based on the price tag of proposed policies submitted to the state Department of Insurance by insurers aiming to participate.

The figure, announced Thursday in Boise by the exchange board, is merely an average.

It doesn't reflect rates policy holders will actually pay, depending on their financial circumstances, eligibility for federal subsidies or their benefits package.

  Oregon parents could soon find it harder to skip having their children immunized.

The Oregon House Wednesday sent a measure to the governor that would add steps to the way parents can opt out of the requirement. A similar law went into effect in Washington state two years ago.

More than 6 percent of Oregon children enter kindergarten without the required number of vaccines. That rate is among the highest in the nation, and it has public health officials concerned.

Oregon lawmakers signed off Monday on a measure that makes it illegal to smoke in a car when there are children present. Drivers could only be ticketed for the offense if they've already been pulled over for something else.

Supporters include Republican representative Jim Thompson. He told colleagues that the bill seeks to protect children from an obvious harm.

Pages