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Open Enrollment for Health Insurance in Colorado Continues Until Jan. 15, 2019

Colorado residents have until Jan. 15 to sign up for health insurance through the Connect for Health Colorado Marketplace, even though the enrollment deadline has passed in other parts of the country. For people who enroll in a health plan by Jan. 15, coverage will begin Feb. 1.

For those who are eligible, plans from the Connect for Health Colorado Marketplace offer financial assistance that reduces the cost of premiums, copays, and coinsurance. For example, financial assistance is available for an individual making up to $48,560 per year, or a family of four making up to $100,400.

People who enrolled last year and are happy with their plan should still see what's available for 2019. Plans change every year, and people need to make sure they are still getting the best plan at the best price for their health and financial needs. Larimer Health Connect can help with that.

Larimer Health Connect is a free service that helps people find the best options for health insurance to meet their family's health needs and budget. Our trained staff provides free, impartial, in-person assistance finding health insurance. We have extended hours, and walk-in enrollment events on Saturdays during open enrollment.

After Jan. 15, people will not be able to sign up for a Connect for Health Colorado plan until the next open enrollment period in fall 2019. However, those who have major changes in their life circumstances during the year -- for example a new job, new child, or new place of residence -- might qualify for a special enrollment period that allows them to sign up for new coverage or change an existing plan.

Larimer Health Connect also can help qualifying people sign up for Health First Colorado, (Colorado's Medicaid Program) or Child Health Plan Plus, both of which allow year-round enrollment.

Larimer Health Connect is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m., M-F, at 144 N. Mason St., Unit 7, Fort Collins. Walk-in service is available Saturdays, 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. through Jan. 12. People can also be seen by appointment at offices in north Fort Collins and Loveland. More information and appointments are available at 970-472-0444, or at the Larimer Health Connect website.

With the headlines out of Washington, you might have questions about what the latest developments mean for you and your health coverage. Call us, and we can help.

Larimer Health Connect is a project of the Health District of Northern Larimer County, a public special district dedicated to improving the health of our community.
 
Winter Bike to Work Day on Dec. 12 (2018)

On Wednesday, Dec. 12, Fort Collins will celebrate Winter Bike to Work Day. People who ride their bike that day can stop at breakfast stations located throughout Fort Collins. The event encourages people to bicycle for transportation; highlights Fort Collins' extensive bike routes; and demonstrates that bicycling is an easy, fun, and healthy means of traveling around the city.

Come visit any of the breakfast stations from 7:00 to 9:30am, offering coffee and a variety of free breakfast foods, quick bike maintenance, and more. For more information, visit the city's Bike Winter webpage.
 
Walk for Homeless Awareness Day, Dec. 8, 2018

Take part in the family-friendly Mission to Hope Walk to raise funds for the Murphy Center for Hope. This 8/10-mile walk starts at 8 a.m. at Catholic Charities Mission and ends at the Murphy Center, where community members can tour the facility and learn about on-site agency partners. Coffee and breakfast treats will be available. Entry fees are $25 per person, or $250 for a team of 12. Get your team together and join us for this event in support of the Murphy Center! Details at murphycenter.org/events.
 
Great American Smokeout on Nov. 15, 2018

The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. The Great American Smokeout challenges people to stop using tobacco and helps people know about the many tools they can use to help them quit and stay quit. By quitting - even for one day - smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, yet nearly 38 million Americans still smoke cigarettes.

The health benefits of quitting start immediately from the moment you stop smoking. Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke. For general information from the American Cancer Society, go to www.cancer.org.

Locally, the Health District of Northern Larimer County offers group classes and individual support, as well as free nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges while you're in the program. Our experienced Tobacco Treatment Specialists have a positive, supportive approach with proven techniques for quitting smoking/quitting tobacco use. Sliding-fee scales are available for Health District residents. For details about our Quit Tobacco program, call 970-224-5209. Or visit the Health District website.
 
Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Oct. 27, 2018

On Sat., Oct. 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., local law enforcement and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will provide an opportunity to properly dispose of unneeded and/or expired prescription medications.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible way of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications. Many people are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are increasing, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.

As of mid-Oct., drop-off sites have been confirmed at the following locations:
  • Fort Collins: Fort Collins Police Services, 2221 S. Timberline Road, north parking lot
  • Loveland: Loveland Police Department, 810 E. 10th St.
  • Windsor: Windsor Police Department, 200 N. 11th St.
  • Wellington: Family Dollar Parking Lot (Larimer County Sheriff's Office staff), 8099 6th St.

  • The service is free and anonymous. Law enforcement officers will be present with the drug disposal boxes at all times. At the conclusion of the event, the boxes will be sealed and turned over to the DEA for proper disposal.

    Many kinds of prescription and over-the-counter medications may be brought to this event for disposal, including medications for your pets. However the following items will NOT be accepted: liquids, intravenous solutions, injectables/needles, syringes, mercury (thermometers), oxygen containers, chemotherapy/radioactive substances, pressurized canisters, and illicit drugs.

    Check the DEA website for additional information and other local drop-off sites.

    Information on environmentally sound disposal methods that minimize opportunities for misuse and protect the environment will be available at the Fort Collins collection site. Flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash could cause pollution of lakes, streams, and water supplies and pose potential safety and health hazards.

    Fort Collins Police Services also has a year-round drug take-back program with a secure bin for the collection of prescription/over-the-counter drugs. Residents may drop off unneeded or expired over-the-counter and prescription medications in the Fort Collins Police Services lobby, 2221 S. Timberline Road, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The same restrictions on eligible/ineligible items apply (see above). For additional information contact Fort Collins Police Services at 970-419-3273.
     

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