Craig health briefs for Dec. 6, 2014: Colorado Gives Day offers opportunities to support local health organizations | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig health briefs for Dec. 6, 2014: Colorado Gives Day offers opportunities to support local health organizations

Craig Daily Press Staff Report

— The Memorial Hospital, Mind Springs Health, Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition and other local organizations are seeking donations from community members as part of Colorado Gives Day on Tuesday.

Colorado Gives Day is an annual event designed to celebrate and increase philanthropy in the state through online giving. This year, it features a $1 million Incentive Fund which will be allocated to participating organizations based on the number of donations they receive.

YampaValleyGives.org is an online giving platform within the Coloradogives.org website which allows community members to easily find local organizations to support.

In addition, to the incentive fund, Routt and Moffat county nonprofits will have the potential to win more grants from the $20,000 Yampa Valley Gives awards, according to a press release from TMH.

Donations can also be scheduled in advance at http://www.coloradogives.org.

Celebration of Light offers chance to honor lost loved ones

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association will host a Celebration of Light event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Craig VNA at 745 Russell St.

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Individuals who have lost a loved one are invited to place a personalized ornament on the community tree. Refreshments, ornaments and supplies for notation will be provided.

Participants are welcome to take their ornaments home after the holidays. For more information, call 970-871-7682.

Dec. 15 deadline to receive coverage; VNA offers free assistance

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is offering drop-in sessions for free one-on-one guidance on health insurance enrollment from 4 to 6 p.m. Dec. 15 at 745 Russell St. in Craig.

A certified health coverage guide and health insurance broker from Western Slope Health Insurance, LLC will be available to answer questions about health insurance or to assist individuals in enrolling or renewing applications. No appointment is necessary.

The VNA is also offering free appointments to help people find the best plan and qualify for tax credits. To schedule an appointment, call 970-824-8233 or schedule online at http://www.nwcovna.org/healthinsurance.php.

Open enrollment ends Feb. 15, 2015, however to receive coverage beginning Jan. 1 or to change your existing plan, you must complete your enrollment by Dec. 15. To compare available health plans, visit Connect For Health Colorado at http://connectforhealthco.com.

Appointments can also be scheduled with a Health Coverage Guide at the following times and locations throughout the open enrollment period:

• From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Monday at Mind Springs Health in Craig

• From noon to 4 p.m. every Tuesday at The Memorial Hospital in Craig

Medicare open enrollment ends Monday; help available

The open enrollment period for Medicare ends Dec. 7, and the nonprofit National Council on Aging has created an online resource known as My Medicare Matters to help baby boomers avoid common mistakes when enrolling.

During open enrollment, seniors and disabled people can compare Medicare benefits for the next year and change their prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage Plan.

The resource helps people evaluate their individual needs, compare their options, enroll in a plan and sustain the best coverage for years to come.

According to a press release from NCOA, common errors include signing up too early or too late for Medicare and its parts, not understanding the difference between a Medicare Supplement and a Medicare Advantage policy, not applying for extra help and not re-evaluating your coverage every year.

Even if people are happy with the plans they have, it's important to review options, because there may be a better plan available.

For more information, visit MyMedicareMatters.org. Assistance is also available by calling the State Health Insurance Assistance Program at 1-888-696-7213 to be connected to SHIP counselors in your area, or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Animated video sheds light on health insurance premiums

The Colorado Division of Insurance released an animated video Thursday using humor and a big green monster to help individuals and families understand how health care costs impact their health insurance premiums, according to a press release from the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.

"The biggest factor in raising the price of your premium is the cost of healthcare," said the video's narrator. "As the cost of drug research, medical procedures, prescriptions and diagnostics go up, so does your premium."

The video was made in part to dispel misconceptions that the DOI sets insurance premiums, the press release said. The video also emphasizes that consumers need not be passive when it comes to what kind of care they choose to receive.

"No one should avoid treatment, but it's good to find out about options," DOI Commissioner Marguerite Salazar said. "We want people to know that they can impact health care costs by asking questions."

Both English and Spanish versions can be viewed at dora.colorado.gov/insurance.