Tricounty News

Health coverage required by March 31 to avoid penalty

Penalty for 2014 is 1 percent of total income or $95, whichever is greater

The final deadline to enroll in health insurance inside or outside of MNsure is March 31 for coverage that begins May 1, 2014, and missing that deadline could mean paying a penalty. The penalty for 2014 is 1 percent of total household income or $95, whichever is greater.

“With the March 31 deadline to enroll in health coverage rapidly approaching, I want to remind Minnesotans without health coverage to visit MNsure.org, and enroll to avoid paying a tax penalty,” said MNsure interim CEO Scott Leitz. “Consumers could pay 1 percent of their total taxable income or $95, whichever is greater – and that penalty will increase from year to year. I urge Minnesotans to know the facts and to get covered before March 31.”

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Classes on preventing falls

Learn how to avoid falls and injuries during Matter of Balance class

Are you at risk for falls? Learn how to prevent and better handle falls from 1-3 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday during March at CentraCare Health Plaza education center.

Attendees will learn how to:

set realistic goals for staying active;

stay safe at home;

increase strength and balance; and

identify and control your fear of falling.

Classes are led by Mackensey Stang, Injury Prevention Specialist, St. Cloud Hospital and Tom Jacobs, RSVP volunteer. For more information or to register, call (320) 251-2700, ext. 53807. Class size is limited to 12-14 participants per session. Sponsored by St. Cloud Hospital Trauma Services.

Are you stressed?

Mindful meditation can change your life

Learn ways to manage the demands and stress you face in life by participating in an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course from 6-8:30 p.m.
Tuesday evenings, March 18 through May 6 in the Meditation Chapel at CentraCare Health Plaza. Use the Woodlands entrance. There will be an all-day retreat from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 26.

This clinically proven program, designed to help you live life with increased contentment, can be especially helpful to those who experience: anxiety and depression, attention deficits, chronic pain and illness, cardiac disease, the demands of care-giving, grief, life transitions, spiritual emptiness and all who find it difficult to establish balance in their everyday lifestyles.

For more information or to register, call Patsy Murphy at (320) 290-2155, or e-mail patsy
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Safety and laundry packets

Single-load liquid laundry packets have become widely available over the past couple of years. Many consumers have found these packets to be an easy and convenient wayW-Deb-Botzek-Linnto wash clothes. However, it is important to remember these powerful packets contain highly concentrated detergent and require the same discipline as common household cleaning products when it comes to safely using, handling and storing.

In 2012, poison control centers received reports of 6,229 unintended exposures to highly-concentrated packets of laundry detergent by children 5 and younger. At a conference I attended, a representative of the American Cleaning Institute shared the sad outcome of a seven-month old who died as a result of chewing on a laundry packet or ‘pod’. She went on to show us how very eye-catching, bright colored and almost candy-like the pods appear.

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March 4: NAMI to present MNsure information

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Minnesota will present a free information session on MNsure from noon-1 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, at Hope Community Support Program, 157 Roosevelt Road, Suite 300, in St. Cloud.

Participants will learn about health insurance options, value of coverage, options under MNsure, MA expansion, changes to Minnesota Care and the benefits to people living with mental illnesses. For more information, please contact NAMI Minnesota at (651) 645-2948, or (888) NAMI-Helps.

NAMI Minnesota is a non-profit organization that works to improve the lives of children and adults with mental illnesses and their families through its programs of education, support and advocacy.