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Californians Get More Time To Switch From COBRA To Covered California

May 16, 2014

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.

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

May 14, 2014
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.

KMC / Kern County

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.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Across California, urban planners and health professionals are increasingly looking at the connections between the design of our communities and the health of the people who live there. Many neighborhoods that lack sidewalks and access to parks have dramatically different health outcomes than those that do. Correcting that problem is the focus of an event taking place on Thursday in Kern County called “Community Design Matters   - Building Walkable Healthy Livable Communities." Dr.

Bill To Extend Medi-Cal To Undocumented Immigrants Moves Forward

Apr 30, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

 The California Senate Health Committee approved a bill today that would make undocumented immigrants eligible for  Medi-Cal benefits. Capital Public Radio’s Max Pringle reports.

Backers of the bill say it would prevent millions of people from having to forego needed medical care because they can’t afford it. Democratic State Senator Ricardo Lara says his bill would give immigrants access to a system they help pay for.

Lara: “In 2010 alone, undocumented immigrants contributed $2.2 billion in state and local taxes.”

Creative Commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/digitizedchaos/5913317383/

In 2012, 29 people were killed in car accidents in Fresno – and 14 of those were pedestrians.  

That means just about half of all those killed in collisions in 2012 weren’t even in a car, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

Last week, the state of California released a new interactive online map that lets you look at how environmentally burdened your neighborhood is compared to the rest of the state. The tool, called CalEnviroScreen 2.0 combines both data on pollution sources and the demographics of a community, including poverty, unemployment and linguistic isolation to compute a score that reflects a community’s overall environmental burden.

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

California lawmakers will hear a bill this week that would give unauthorized immigrants the ability to buy health insurance and enroll in Medi-Cal. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

The Affordable Care Act specifically excludes undocumented immigrants from new health coverage options. In California, undocumented immigrants can receive emergency health services and some counties offer other care to people regardless of status. 

Fresno County

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.

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

A new ranking of environmental health in California shows that many Fresno County neighborhoods rank among the worst in the state when it comes to pollution.

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment's CalEnviroScreen 2.0 database examines how the state's approximately 8,000 census tracts rank on a variety of indicators in two major areas: pollution exposure and socioeconomic factors that increase vulnerability to pollution. The database combines the two to give each tract a score.

America’s farmers are dying. But it’s not just because they’re aging. In 1978 the average age of the American farmer was 50, today it’s around 58. But there’s another even more troubling issue facing those who grow our food -  farmers taking their own lives.

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

Apr 22, 2014
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.”

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

Apr 17, 2014

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.

California Lawmakers Consider Medical Interpreters Program For Second Time

Apr 8, 2014
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

For the second time in a year, California lawmakers will consider a bill that would create a medical interpreters program. As Capital Public Radio’s Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone reports, the bill’s backers say circumstances are different this time.    

This year’s bill is essentially the same as last year’s. The state would pay interpreters to help Medi-Cal patients who have limited English skills to understand their health care.

Will Shuck with the California Assembly Speaker’s office says what’s different this year is the timing.

Deadline Sparks Surge in Covered California Applications

Apr 1, 2014
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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