ACA

Health Care
7:45 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Health In An Age Of Change: State Health Czar Diana Dooley Reflects On The ACA's Impact

Diana Dooley, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency
Credit CHHS Dept

Diana Dooley, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, oversees 13 departments and supervises the state’s rollout of the federal Affordable Care Act, including Covered California, the state’s insurance marketplace, and the Medi-Cal program for the poor. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed her in late 2010. A native of Hanford, she earlier served as president and CEO of the California Children’s Hospital Assn. She worked for Brown during his first administration.

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Health Care
7:33 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Health Reform In California: A State Of Accelerating Change

Gail Fulbeck unloads her van full of soda, water and snacks onto a dolly so she can re-stock some of the 23 vending machines she owns around downtown Sacramento. The 64-year-old saved a lot of money by switching to a Bronze health plan under Covered California.
Credit Lauren M. Whaley / CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Gail Fulbeck, 64, relies on her body for work. She hauls soda, energy drinks, snacks and water to the 23 vending machines she owns around downtown Sacramento.

The physical demands of her job, coupled with her husband’s history of migraines and bad knees, make health insurance essential.

Last year, Fulbeck and her husband paid a monthly insurance premium of $2,555.

Starting Jan. 1 of this year, the couple’s premium for a nearly identical plan totaled $165. It was, she said, almost unbelievable.

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Health Care
11:27 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Californians Get More Time To Switch From COBRA To Covered California

California’s health insurance exchange has announced a special enrollment period starting Thursday for people who want to opt-out of their COBRA health insurance.

Covered California says about 300,000 people in the state may be paying the full price of what used to be employer-based health coverage.

Executive Director Peter Lee says they have until July 15th if they want to find another option.

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Health Care
2:45 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

New Budget Projects Almost A Third Of Californians Will Have Medi-Cal

file photo
Credit Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

California Governor Jerry Brown’s new budget estimates that almost a third of the population of California will be enrolled in Medi-Cal during next fiscal year. Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

About 11.5 million Californians will get health care through Medi-Cal. That’s higher than what the Governor or state health planners anticipated. So the revised budget adds more than a billion dollars to account for the surge.

Anthony Wright of Health Access says he’s pleased the state expanded Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act.

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Health Care
8:21 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Amid Budget Woes, County Looks To New Future For Kern Medical Center

Kern Medical Center (file photo)
Credit KMC

The Kern County Board of Supervisors met Monday to discuss the future of the county’s financially troubled Kern Medical Center. The Board met with hospital CEO Russell Judd and an outside consultant to outline new governance guidelines for KMC which is losing around $3 million a month.

Supervisor Mike Maggard says the hospital is at a critical juncture.

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Health Care
6:17 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Judge Rules Fresno County Isn't Required To Provide Health Care To Undocumented

Community health advocates expressed their dismay today after a judge ruled that Fresno County is no longer required to provide health care to undocumented residents.

Superior Court Judge Donald Black overturned a portion of a 30-year-old court order this week, saying the county had proven a change in law no longer requires it to pay for specialty medical services for undocumented individuals.

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Health Care
9:05 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Advocates Urge 'Vigilance' to Ensure Care for New Medi-Cal Patients

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California’s Medi-cal program has seen a huge surge in enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento about what those patients can expect when they try to see a doctor. 

California officials say they’re pleased to see 1.9 million have signed up under the Medi-Cal expansion.  

Toby Douglas: “1.9 million is far more than we ever projected, and there are even more that we’re working to get on as quickly as possible.”

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Health Care
7:43 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

'Bumpy' California Enrollment Period Ends With Over 3 Million Health Care Sign-Ups

California health officials say the open enrollment period for insurance has been ‘bumpy’ but it has ended with more than 3 million people signed up for coverage. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

About 1.9 million Californians have new Medi-Cal coverage, and just under 1.5 have signed up for private insurance.

Among the people with private plans, about half had insurance agents or enrollment counselors sign them up. Peter Lee of Covered California says that’s something to keep in mind for the next enrollment period.

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Health Care
12:43 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Deadline Sparks Surge in Covered California Applications

Uninsured Californians apply for health insurance through the state's federal health care exchange at a union-sponsored "enroll-a-thon" in Sacramento Monday.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

California’s health insurance exchange says it’s received a surge of last-minute enrollments ahead of Monday’s midnight application deadline.  Enrollment events popped up across the state as the Covered California call center reported waits of more than an hour in the final days.  Ben Adler reports from one such event in Sacramento.

A room full of people waited up to 45 minutes at a Sacramento union hall to sign up for the Covered California health care exchange on the final day of open enrollment.  Union organizers called it a 17-hour “enroll-a-thon.”

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Health Care
2:35 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

At Fresno State, Dolores Huerta Urges Young Latinos To 'Get Covered'

Dolores Huerta spoke to a class of Fresno State students about signing up for the Affordable Care Act
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

With just 10 days left before the Covered California enrollment deadline, farm labor activist Dolores Huerta took her message to students at Fresno State today. As FM89's Joe Moore reports, it's part of a last minute push to boost enrollment figures among Latinos and young people. 

Speaking to a class of students at Fresno State today, UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta invoked memories of the civil rights movement to help spur young Latinos to sign up for health insurance.

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Health Care
1:28 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

California Medical Device Makers Have Mixed Views on Obamacare Tax

Andrew Nixon Capital Public Radio

California is a place where medical device makers can thrive. The industry says employment in the sector is growing, and companies here benefit from almost half the biomedical venture capital dollars nationwide. This year, some medical device businesses have faced a new tax under the Affordable Care Act. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento says the industry has a mixed reaction.

No one likes to be taxed. For many small businesses, the added costs can be especially unwelcome.

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Health Care
5:32 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

No Deadline Extension, Says Covered California

California’s health care exchange is NOT extending the same one-day enrollment grace period as the White House is for the federal exchange.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, that means the deadline for Californians to apply for health insurance that takes effect January 1st remains tonight at midnight.

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Health Care Reform
2:34 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

First Covered California Enrollment Deadline is December 23

There aren’t many days left to sign up for health insurance through Covered California if you want coverage to start next month.  Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

The deadline to apply for coverage and pick a health plan is Monday December 23rd. Payment is not due until January 6th.

Covered California says it expects a surge of applications in the coming days. Anthony Wright of the consumer advocacy group Health Access says there are a number of options if you’re faced with long wait times or technical problems. 

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Health Care
6:13 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Supervisor Perea Envisions Break Between Fresno County, Community Hospitals

Community Regional Medical Center
Credit Community Hospitals/ UCSF Fresno

Supervisor Henry Perea says that Fresno County’s decades-long contract with a local hospital to provide medical care to indigent patients could soon come to end.

“I think in the very near future, we just may be ending the contract with Community Hospitals, and going a different direction on the health care piece of it,” says Perea.

Perea was speaking on Valley Public Radio’s Valley Edition. 

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Health Care Reform
4:29 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

California Health Insurers Restrict Doctor Choice To Lower Costs

San Francisco based insurance broker Susan Shargel says she’s trying to sort out all the new ways insurers are contracting with doctors. Some health plans will have fewer doctors and hospitals. Blue Shield, for example will have half the doctors and three quarters of the hospitals they have this year.
Credit Pauline Bartolone / Capital Public Radio

As Californians shop for new insurance under the federal health law next year, they’re faced with many choices for health plans at different prices. But the plans they choose also come with different combinations of doctors and hospitals. And as Health Care reporter Pauline Bartolone tells us, some people are confused and frustrated by the new conditions.  

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Health Care
11:41 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Californians with Food Stamps to Get 'Fast Tracked' to Health Care

The state of California says as many as 600,000 people who receive food stamps could be fast-tracked into Medi-Cal next year if the federal government approves.  Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

The state says people on the CalFresh program have the same income as people who qualify for expanded Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act next year.

Rene Mollow of the California Department of Health Care Services says it will offer food stamp recipients a way to sign up for free health care without filling out another application.

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Government & Politics
4:54 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Covered California Votes to Keep Original Policy Cancelation Deadline

The Covered California board of directors voted today [Thursday] not to allow health insurers to renew canceled policies that don’t meet new standards under the Affordable Care Act.

The decision comes after President Obama’s recent suggestion that insurers be allowed to decide whether they want to extend the policies for a year.

The exchange’s executive director, Peter Lee, raised concerns about pushing back the cancelations for a few months or up to a year.

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Health Care
6:18 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Despite Obama's Proposal, California Health Insurers Want to 'Stay the Course'

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California health insurers don’t like President Obama’s proposal to allow people to stay on health plans that don’t meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act next year. But as Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone tells us, the state’s Insurance Commissioner supports the President. 

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Health Care
11:25 am
Thu November 14, 2013

California Stands Out In New Obamacare Numbers

Both California and the federal government have released numbers about people applying for health coverage next year. As Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento reports, California stands out from the rest of the states.

The federal government’s numbers show more than 35,000 Californians have picked a health plan through the state-run exchange as of November 2nd.

But Peter Lee of Covered California says the total is almost twice that if you count the latest numbers.

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Health Care
8:18 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Health Insurer Says Individual Plans Will Have Fewer Doctors Next Year

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California health insurers say people buying coverage for themselves next year should expect a different set of doctors and hospitals than are available this year. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California are the largest issuers of individual health insurance policies in the state. Jeff Smith of Blue Shield said in order to keep its plans affordable next year, it negotiated with doctors and hospitals.

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