Health notes: Deadline nears for enrolling in health insurance marketplaceOnly four shopping days are left until … enrollment deadline. Midnight on Monday is the anticipated deadline to enroll in the health insurance marketplace for coverage set to begin on Jan. 1.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Only four shopping days are left until … enrollment deadline.
Midnight on Monday is the anticipated deadline to enroll in the health insurance marketplace for coverage set to begin on Jan. 1.
The marketplace, or exchange, was designed as part of the Affordable Care Act with the goal of giving previously uninsured or underinsured individuals, and small businesses, a “one-stop shop” for health insurance coverage.
Interest has surged recently, especially this week, said Elizabeth Olson, program officer for Generations Health Care Initiatives, a Duluth nonprofit created to help people gain access to health services.
Generations is the lead agency for Insure Duluth, which coordinates the so-called “navigators” who are trained to help people enroll in MNsure, the state’s version of the exchange.
“This week has been our busiest,” Olson said on Wednesday. “Capacity is about reached.”
Because of that, Olson recommends that individuals who have computer access first go to mnsure.org and try going through the process on their own. If that’s not possible, or if you encounter difficulties or questions you can’t answer, then seek help. The website has a list of local navigators and insurance brokers who are certified to help with enrollment. You also can call 211, the number for United Way, for suggestions about whom to see.
The navigator who is closest to where you live or work may not be the best choice if he or she already is swamped, Olson said.
In the Iron Range, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Minnesota is presenting a free information session on MNsure from noon to 1 p.m. today in the cafeteria conference room at Essentia Health-Virginia, 901 Ninth St. N.
In Wisconsin, go to the federal website: healthcare.gov. Or call the Lake Superior Community Health Center’s Superior office at (715) 392-1955 and ask for the health access office.
Comedian Bamford on ‘Speak Your Mind’
Maria Bamford is a funny woman with a serious purpose.
The Duluth-raised comedian, best known for her caricatures of her immediate family and dark bits about mental illness, will be Dr. Carolyn Phelps’ guest on the PBS North program “Speak Your Mind” at 7:30 this evening on Channels 8.1 and 31.1.
Bamford is committed to decreasing the stigma associated with mental illness by speaking openly about her own mental health problems, a program note from PBS North says. During the half-hour program, Phelps and Bamford will discuss “Getting Help and Getting Better.”
That will follow “Doctors on Call” at 7 p.m., which this week focuses on men’s health.
Dr. Ray Christensen and a panel of local physicians will offer answers and advice.
Regional physicians name top doc
An internist at Duluth Internal Medicine Associates has been named the Lake Superior Medical Society’s Physician of the Year.”
Dr. David Sproat received the award on Dec. 5 in recognition of “consistently demonstrating qualities recognized as defining excellence in medical care delivery,” according to a news release from the medical society.
Sproat’s patients have nominated him for the award a number of times over the past several years, the release said.
Also earning awards:
Duluth doctor up for statewide award
A Duluth doctor has been nominated for the 2014 Minnesota Family Physician of the Year Award.
Dr. Peter Wodrich, a family doctor at the P.S. Rudie Medical Clinic, is among those being considered for the honor by the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, the organization announced in a news release. The Rudie Clinic is owned by St. Luke’s hospital.
The academy is accepting additional information and letters about Dr. Wodrich until Jan. 15. Letters can be mailed to Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, 600 S. Highway 169, No. 1680, St. Louis Park, Minn. 55426, or emailed to email@example.com.
One of the finalists will receive the award at the academy’s annual meeting in April.
Drop boxes gather more drugs
Try to imagine almost 250 pounds of medicine.
That’s the amount — 248.2 pounds, to be exact — that the St. Louis County Environmental Services Department sent to a facility in Fosston, Minn., for incineration recently, a news release from the county announced.
The unused drugs were collected in drop boxes at sheriff’s offices and police departments across the county. This was the third time the pharmaceuticals have been gathered and delivered to Fosston, with a total of 645.4 pounds delivered to date.
The point is to safely dispose of the medications, which if left in medicine cabinets could lead to accidental poisonings of children or pets, or contribute to prescription drug abuse, the news release said. Improper disposal also is frowned upon, because it could be harmful to fish and wildlife.
More information about proper disposal of medicine in St. Louis County is available by calling (218) 749-9703, or visiting stlouiscountymn.gov.