Health, Science, Environment

LGBTQ Health Disparities
6:19 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Growing Number of Insurance Plans Cover Gender Reassignment

Andre Wilson, an inclusive health advocate and transgender man, is speaking at Washington University in St. Louis on Nov. 13 and 14.
Credit Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

Andre Wilson lived as a woman for the first 43 years of his life. It was excruciating, he said.

“I lived a life of depression, suicidality. I couldn’t even explain to myself, let alone others, what the barriers were,” Wilson said. “One lives a life of never having access to the core self.”

When Wilson began hormone therapy to transition into becoming a man, everything changed.

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Coal Ash
4:37 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Missouri Supreme Court Hears Lawsuit Tied To Ameren's Proposed Coal Ash Landfill

Ameren Missouri's coal-fired power plant near Labadie, Mo. Ameren wants to build a coal ash landfill next door to the plant.
Credit Veronique Lacapra/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court is considering the case surrounding Ameren Missouri's efforts to build a coal ash landfill next door to its coal-fired power plant in Franklin County.

The suit deals with whether citizens were allowed to fully voice their concerns at various public hearings in which zoning amendments were to be discussed, but not allowing comments on Ameren or the coal ash landfill. Attorney Maxine Lipeles argued that their concerns were not fully heard.

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Natural Disasters
9:42 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Risk Of Earthquake In St. Louis Higher Than People May Realize

In this figure, the dots mark the epicenters of earthquakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater between January 1974 and December 2013. The stars mark the epicenters of earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 or greater since 1800. Geological structures identified in the figure include the Ste. Genevieve, New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic areas, Illinois Basin, Ozark Dome (OD) and Reelfoot Rift (RR).
Credit Courtesy Indiana University

With the New Madrid fault just a hundred miles south of St. Louis, it’s long been known that the region is at a greater risk for an earthquake than other parts of the Midwest. But new research indicates that St. Louis is part of an area that has seismic activity of its own.

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Landfill Gas
5:55 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

East St. Louis Landfill Facility To Convert Trash To Fuel

Project Manager Tom Kappelmeier holds a model of the facility's landfill gas filtration system during a tour at the Milam Landfill.
Credit Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

There’s a network of pipes underneath the Milam Landfill in East St. Louis. The pipes gather the methane and carbon dioxide given off when organic matter heats up and decomposes. And soon, the landfill will be using it to produce natural gas.

The landfill’s operator, Waste Management, received a $2.4 million dollar grant from the state of Illinois to build the facility, which is the first of its kind in the state. Total construction costs reached $19 million, according to the company.

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Affordable Care Act
3:24 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Rate Review Laws Could Reduce Health Insurance Costs, Consumer Group Says

Credit Adrian Clark / Flickr

On Monday, Missourians had their first glimpse at the health insurance rates they can choose from on the federal exchange. According to some, that shouldn't have been the first time the information was public.

Missouri is one of only a few states that does not have a state entity tasked with reviewing health insurance rates before they are finalized. Consumer groups say that means Missourians might be paying more for health insurance on the federal exchange than they should be. 

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St. Louis on the Air
1:39 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Q&A: Answering Questions About Medicare Open Enrollment

Credit Adrian Clark / Flickr

Medicare open enrollment, which runs through Dec. 7, gives beneficiaries an opportunity to review and change their health and prescription drug plans. On Wednesday, “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh sat down with Julie Brookhart, public affairs specialist for the Kansas City regional office of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to learn more about open enrollment.

Do I need to sign up for a new plan?

You don’t necessarily need to, Brookhart said, but open enrollment does provide an opportunity to compare plans.

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St. Louis on the Air
1:16 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Premature Birth Research Center To Open In St. Louis

Credit Adrian Clark / Flickr

Officials from Washington University, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the March of Dimes announced Monday they will launch a new March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis.

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Affordable Care Act
5:44 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Missouri Gets First Peek At 2015 Health Plans On Federal Exchange

Credit Adrian Clark / Flickr

Even though open enrollment doesn't start for several days, Healthcare.gov began on Monday to allow visitors to take a peek at the individual health insurance plans and rates that will be available for 2015. 

In the St. Louis area, two additional insurance companies  — Cigna and UnitedHealthcare — began offering plans on the federal exchange. For zip codes in St. Louis, the marketplace lists 41 plans with varying monthly premiums, co-pays and deductibles.

Ryan Barker of Cover Missouri said the additional competition likely led to a slight decrease in plan prices.

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Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
8:15 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Missouri May Owe Feds $11.5 Million For Improper Medicaid Claims

Credit Adrian Clark / Flickr

The state of Missouri may be required to repay $11.5 million to the federal government, after miscalculating Medicaid payment rates for some case management services to people with developmental disabilities. The findings  were published last week in an audit by the Office of the Inspector General. 

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Aging Missouri
5:34 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Health Agency Calls For Changes To Meet Needs Of Missouri's Older Population

Credit via Flickr/ AJ Cann

A new report on the health of older Missourians says cost and access to health care are key concerns as the state’s population continues to age.

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