Supporters say cost has been an issue for numerous Coloradans in staying healthy.
"Everything I've run across, there's a charge on it," said Tyrone Simmons, who's smoked for ten years and has made a New Year's resolution to quit this year. "It's kind of expensive, so if you can't go cold turkey, then you just don't go."
House Bill 1204 was a bipartisan measure that passed with significant majorities at the Colorado State Capitol. Health care advocates say Colorado will be one of few states in the country to require coverage of numerous preventative screenings and to provide full coverage to quit smoking.
"In (the black) community, money has been an obstacle," said Nita Henry, who runs The Kaleidoscope Project in Denver which promotes healthy living among blacks through community involvement. "We're already taking care of the sickest of the sick. We're already doing that and so, if we have a mechanism in place to help people take care of themselves as a community, ultimately, we all benefit from that. We all are healthier."
Among the other services covered include alcohol intervention sessions, flu vaccinations, cholesterol screening for lipid disorders as well as testing for cervical and colorectal cancers.
There is no estimate on how much the increased mandated coverage will cost Coloradans. The state of Colorado predicted it would cost anywhere from 16 cents to $1.49 a month more for its employees to cover the increased services.
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