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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Forty-two boxes of returned mail lined a wall of the El Paso County Department of Human Services office on a recent fall morning. There used to be three times as many.

Every week, the U.S. Postal Service brings anywhere from four to 15 trays to the office, each containing more than 250 letters that it could not deliver to county residents enrolled in Medicaid or other public assistance programs. This plays out the same way in counties across the state. Colorado estimates about 15% of the 12 million letters from public assistance programs to 1.3 million members statewide are returned — some 1.8 million pieces of

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