health insurance

During this open enrollment period for health insurance, the White House has issued a challenge to 20 communities across the country, including greater Salt Lake City.

Courtesy photo

Thousands of Utahns are looking for new insurance now that the state’s nonprofit cooperative Arches Health Plan is closing its doors. Those living in rural areas don’t have a lot of options.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Some Utah drug treatment centers have allegedly been collecting millions of dollars in insurance payments for services they never provided, but it’s not clear what can be done to stop the fraud.

Utahns who buy their health insurance through the federal exchange can expect substantial rate increases next year. The Utah Insurance Department updated the state Health Reform Task Force on the changes Thursday.

Next year, many health insurance providers in Utah will be required to cover autism treatment. A summit is taking place on Monday to help prepare parents for the state’s autism mandate.

A new film about the healthcare coverage gap in Utah is screening at the University of Utah college of law Tuesday night. It’s called Donut Hole.


Earlier this week, the chair of the Utah Democratic party Peter Corroon criticized state Republican lawmakers for failing to act on a Medicaid expansion. He said all he could do was pray the governor would call a special legislative session to resolve the issue. Corroon’s prayers may be answered before the end of the year.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Utah Democrats are blasting Republicans for not taking action to provide healthcare to low-income citizens. They held a press conference Tuesday saying a Medicaid expansion is long overdue.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

A coalition of Utah progressives, religious leaders, and advocates for the poor launched a campaign Wednesday to demand action on the healthcare coverage gap for low income citizens.

Kaiser Family Foundation

This month, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision on King v. Burwell. The plaintiffs in the case claim tax credits in states that use the federal health insurance exchange are illegal. If the High Court stops these subsidies, many people across the country will be required to pay the full premiums on their insurance. Utah stands to lose more than most.

Photo courtesy Clear Horizons Academy

Up until now, autism was not covered by health insurance in Utah, but that’s about to change. Treatment options available in the state are adapting to the new policies. One partnership is going to expand the number of children with autism who can be treated.

Utah Governor's Office

Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Republican legislative leaders said they were optimistic Wednesday after leaving a meeting in Washington with federal officials, but they say they’re starting over to find an agreement on Medicaid.

Avenue H

More small Utah businesses are turning to the state-based health insurance marketplace known as Avenue H to offer healthcare benefits to employees.

Cornell University

More Utah children with autism will soon have access to behavioral therapy. The state is preparing to expand its Medicaid program to include autism services.

This weekend is the deadline to buy health insurance through the federal marketplace. Utah's second open enrollment period for insurance through the Affordable Care Act closes on February 15th.

New Obamacare enrollment numbers are in. When Matthew Slonaker of Utah Health Policy Project looks at how many people in the state signed up for insurance in the first month of this enrollment period, he sees good news.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Governor Gary Herbert officially unveiled his plan Thursday to close the coverage gap and help low income Utahns get health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act.

A regional director for US Department of Health and Human Services is in Utah to raise awareness about the second open enrollment period for health insurance.

Kim Gillan is the HHS Regional Director for six states in the Rocky Mountain region, but for the moment, her role in Utah is to be a health insurance cheerleader. Gillan says is much more user friendly than it was in the first rollout and it’s operating smoothly.

Some people might think of November as the beginning of the holiday season, but for those involved in the health insurance field – it’s the beginning of another open enrollment season. Jason Stevenson of Utah Health Policy Project joins us to answer questions about health insurance this enrollment season, which begins Saturday, November 15th.

More information about open enrollment is available at Take Care Utah.

While the cost of healthcare continues to go up around the country, a new delivery and payment model in Utah is saving money for patients.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

For those in Utah who are addicted to drugs or mentally ill, jail may be one of the only places where treatment is free and accessible. In part one of a two-part series, KUER looks at how Salt Lake County cares for its incarcerated population.

Talking to people outside the Road Home shelter in Salt Lake City, you hear about job losses and the deaths of family members and friends, life events that can derail those who don’t have much of a support system, but you also hear another prevailing strain.

Another open enrollment period to sign up for health insurance is coming up in November, and rates are going to change. State assistance insurance commissioner Tanji (TAN-jee) Northrup says premium rates increase every year along with healthcare costs. She says preliminary estimates show that premium rates for individuals will go up by about 5.7 percent on average. That’s compared to an estimated national increase of 7 percent.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

A national poll shows Utah’s uninsured rate has not changed since the federal Affordable Care Act required all Americans to have health insurance.  This reflects trends across the country, where states that fully embraced the law's coverage expansion are experiencing a significant drop in the number of uninsured residents. But Utah and other states whose leaders still object to Obamacare are seeing much less change.

A federal court in Washington DC ruled Tuesday that Obamacare subsidies are illegal. Utah is among 36 states that would potentially be affected by this ruling, but for now, Utahns will continue to receive those subsidies.

"Entitled to Life" screenshot

A film debuting Tuesday in Salt Lake City highlights Utah’s low income citizens who don’t have access to affordable health insurance.  The new documentary tells the stories of Utah adults who fall within the state's coverage gap, earning too little to buy subsidized insurance on, but too much to receive Medicaid.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Utah’s Republican lawmakers say they’re not ready to make any decisions about Medicaid expansion or the governor’s alternative plan. That means over 110,000 low income Utahns will likely be waiting at least until next year before they know what their health insurance options may be.

At a GOP caucus this week, Republicans legislators determined that they don’t all agree when it comes to Medicaid and healthcare reform.

Brian Grimmett

Republican state lawmakers have come up with a proposal to provide health insurance for those who fall below the poverty line, but it does not expand Medicaid in the state. Democrats say rejecting those federal dollars is irresponsible.

Utahns who receive health insurance through the state’s Primary Care Network will likely have more time before they are cut from the program. PCN was set to expire at the end of this year, but state health officials say they have verbal confirmation from the federal government that the program will be funded for another year.

Andrea Smardon

Homeless Utahns will be able to get dental care at a clinic in downtown Salt Lake City thanks to a gift from a local business.  Alsco, a linen and uniform rental company has agreed to provide 125,000 dollars a year for five years to fund a full-time dentist at the Fourth Street Clinic. KUER’s Andrea Smardon reports that there is a pent up demand for dental services among the homeless and low-income populations.

Looking at the brand new dental chairs at Fourth Street Clinic, Russell Flowers breaks into a smile, revealing some missing teeth.

Signed & Numbered

Now that is working better, more Utahns are going online to sign up for insurance. KUER’s Andrea Smardon reports that it’s affordable for some, expensive for others, and not available at all for more than 100,000 Utah citizens.