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Experts discuss health insurance enrollment numbers in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — President Obama is calling the Affordable Care Act a success, since millions of Americans have signed up for health care on the federal exchanges.

But how many Utahns have signed up and are now covered? FOX 13 News spoke with experts at Arches Health Plan, who said it’s still too soon to call Utah’s enrollment numbers good or bad.

The official report has not come in yet, but based on the estimates so far, Utah’s youth enrollment is above the national percentage.

After a rough roll out of the new health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act, President Obama was eager to announce the national enrollment numbers Thursday. He said 8 million Americans have enrolled, with 35 percent of those people under the age of 35.

In Utah, no official statewide numbers have been released, but a spokesperson for Arches Health Plan said about 68,000 Utahns have enrolled, with 47 percent in the coveted 35 and younger demographic.

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Authorities identify victim in Taylorsville homicide investigation

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — A retired elementary school teacher was murdered in her own home, Unified Police Department officials said.

Autopsy results reveal disturbing news about what happened to a Taylorsville widow who lived near 40th West and 56th South.

UPD officials said 59 year-old Margaret Steffey was suffocated, possibly by someone she knew and police need the public’s help to find the killer.

“I’m sorry,” said Margarita Campuzano as she burst into tears after hearing what happened to her neighbor, who she said was like family.

“I’m so sad because she’s such a nice person, she come to the parties at my home, Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Campuzano said.

Cops discovered Margaret Steffey’s body during a welfare check Wednesday morning. Her family hadn’t spoken with her since Saturday. Campuzano wishes she would’ve been home to notice any suspicious activity.

Students participate in ‘Great Utah Shakeout’ earthquake drill

SALT LAKE CITY — Emergency responders, firefighters, law enforcement officials and other emergency personnel throughout the state are joining Utah residents to participate in the “Great Utah Shakeout” earthquake drill Thursday morning.

The Great Utah Shakeout is part of a worldwide effort to increase awareness of earthquake emergency procedures and improve earthquake preparedness.

“There’s a million different things that people can do to be prepared, but the Great Utah Shakeout is one of the great things we can do as a state to be unified in all of our preparedness efforts,” said Joe Dougherty, Utah Division of Emergency Management.

The Great Utah Shakeout began at 10:15 a.m. with a mock earthquake. Event organizers ask Utahns to “drop, cover and hold,” as if a real earthquake were happening, at that time.

State lawmakers discuss governor’s ‘Healthy Utah’ plan

SALT LAKE CITY — The Obama Administration reportedly gave Governor Gary Herbert preliminary approval on his plan to provide health care coverage to uninsured Utahns.

However, the governor’s bigger hurdle may be with the Utah legislature. It will take a special session from the Utah Legislature to approve the Governor’s plan, and scoring the support from the State House of Representatives will be challenging.

Governor Herbert was in good spirits after a trip to Washington D.C., where the feds gave his “Healthy Utah Plan” to cover tens of thousands of uninsured Utahns an initial OK.

“This will be a work in progress,” Herbert said during a press briefing. “We don’t have all the answers because we don’t know all the questions, but I’m confident this is going to be a better approach for the Utah citizens and taxpayers than just Medicaid expansion.”

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My Heart Challenge: Life as a mom, firefighter

WEST VALLEY CITY — Fifteen local firefighters are pursuing a healthier lifestyle through Intermountain Medical Center’s My Heart Challenge, and the public is encouraged to join their efforts to achieve better heart health.

One of those taking the challenge is Mary Lindsay-Vonk, who is a mother as well as firefighter in West Valley City.

FOX 13 News’ Kiersten Nuñez spoke with the firefighter, who is 32 days in to the challenge. See the video above for Mary’s comments on making healthy lifestyle changes, as well as information from health experts about the dangers of heart disease.

Click here for more information regarding the 2014 My Heart Challenge.

Governor talks ‘Healthy Utah’ plan with team behind Obamacare

SALT LAKE CITY — Fresh off a trip to Washington D.C., Governor Gary Herbert says he is confident his plan to provide health coverage to low income Utahns, called “Healthy Utah,” will be approved by the Obama Administration.

Herbert met with the White House Health Policy team. In the governor’s words, “The people who wrote the Affordable Care Act.”

“Their comment to me was this was never intended to be a one size fits all approach, so we embrace your proposal to have a unique Utah solution,” Herbert said.

Herbert also met with outgoing Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius. He said the Secretary also said she didn’t see any major objections to Healthy Utah.

Body found in Taylorsville home, homicide investigation underway

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — A woman was found dead in a Taylorsville home Wednesday morning, and Unified Police are treating the case as a homicide.

“There is evidence at the scene that leads us to believe that the death is suspicious,” a press release from UPD said.

Police responded to a home near 4000 Blue Meadow Drive shortly before 7:30 a.m. after receiving a report of a missing person.  Family members said they hadn’t spoken to the missing woman since Saturday.

It isn’t clear if the person whose body was found Wednesday is that of the missing person. Officials obtained a search warrant for the residence around noon, and officials are carrying out their investigation.

Lt. Justin Hoyal of the Unified Police Department said they could not offer specific details at this point in the investigation.