Children get failing grades

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Colorado’s children get a D+ for health and wellness.

The D+ this year is a drop from last year’s barely passing grade of C- and shows that the biggest declines in health statewide are in children’s health.

From third place just a few years ago, the state now ranks 23.

In addition, Colorado remains in the bottom half of all states in four out of the six indicators for children. The state ranks 45th for children with health insurance, 38th for kids who don’t receive dental care and 34th for those who participate in vigorous activity.

“This year’s report makes it clear that we are failing to meet the basic health needs of Colorado’s children,” said Anne Warhover, Colorado Health Foundation president and CEO. “We can and must do better. Other states and local communities have implemented policy measures to tackle the problems that plague children’s health. This data should serve as a rallying cry …”

Colorado still gets high marks on other surveys for health lifestyles, but the state is losing ground in several areas.

The foundation gave a C to the health of infants, and a B- to healthy adolescents. Adults get a B for overall health, and seniors get a B+.

This is the third year the report card has been issued. In those three years, the state hasn’t improved on any health indicators. And that’s a problem because the report card includes detailed information about 39 health indicators that span the entire life cycle. Left unchanged, those indicators could pose risks to the health and well being of the entire state.

Health plans collaborate

The nation’s health insurance companies are working on a plan to streamline the paperwork filing process, trying to save time and billions of dollars nationwide.

American Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association are sponsoring both regional and statewide initiatives to assess how to best offer access to multiple insurance companies through a single Web portal.

The first pilot project is in New Jersey and involves Aetna, AmeriHealth New Jersey, Cigna, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Healthcare.

If successful, the initiative will address the need for one-stop service in electronic transactions and could replace a cumbersome system that has each insurance company using separate Web sites and paperwork for every doctor.

The plan offers opportunities to simplify the work associated with patient visits:

  • allowing staff to determine eligibility and benefit information
  • giving doctors access to current and accurate information on the status of claims
  • testing real-time referrals and timely pre-authorization of services
  • Providing for the online submission of health care claims.

Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.