Medicaid to pay for private health plans in Arkansas

Arkansas
Medicaid to pay for private health plans

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved Friday a plan by Arkansas to expand its Medicaid program, making it the only state in the country that will use Medicaid dollars to buy private health insurance for its new public program enrollees.

About 200,000 residents qualify for the Medicaid expansion. Instead of having them enroll in the public program, like other states will do, Arkansas will send them to their new health insurance marketplace to buy individual plans. When they get to the point of purchase, the Medicaid agency will foot the tab for their coverage.

The Arkansas expansion will start open enrollment on Tuesday, alongside 25 other states planning to expand the program. Benefits will begin Jan. 1.

— Sarah Kliff

Utah
WWII remains are buried with honors

The partial remains of a World War II pilot who crashed over a Pacific Ocean island nearly 70 years ago will be buried Saturday with full military honors in Utah.

Air Force 2nd Lt. Vernal J. Bird disappeared over Papua New Guinea on a 1944 bombing run of Japanese airfields there. He was 25. The crash site was found 12 years ago, but it wasn’t until this summer that the Air Force was able to identify partial remains found there as belonging to Bird.

Those remains — only a single leg bone was recovered — arrived Wednesday inside a flag-draped casket on an airliner at Salt Lake City International Airport.

— Associated Press

Idaho
Airline pilot dies after heart attack

A United Airlines pilot died after suffering a major heart attack while flying from Houston to Seattle, forcing crew members to make an emergency landing in Idaho while two doctors on board did CPR in the first-class cabin.

Pilot Henry Skillern, 63, of Humble, Tex., was still alive when firefighters and paramedics ran to his aid Thursday night on the Boise Airport tarmac. He died a short time later while being treated at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, spokeswoman Jennifer Krajnik said.

Skillern had been a pilot for United Airlines for 26 years.

— Associated Press

Youth in Kansas faces murder charges: A 14-year-old Kansas boy was charged Friday with murdering his mother and younger sister by deliberately setting fire to the family home in Hutchinson, authorities said. Sam Vonachen faces two counts of first-degree murder and a charge of aggravated arson in the deaths of his mother and sister, said Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder. He is also charged with attempted first-degree murder of his father, Steven Vonachen, who escaped the blaze.

— From news services

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