News on health, wellness and health care

Just walking into this room with Emily Grant makes you want to slow down and take a deep breath. The lights are dimmed, there’s soft music playing, and the room smells sweetly of lavender.

“Take a few deep breaths in, and exhale," Grant says. "Take another deep breath in, and exhale.”

This isn’t a yoga studio. It’s a classroom, where Grant guides Sunnyside High School’s meditation club.

No Deadline Extension, Says Covered California

Dec 23, 2013

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.

First Covered California Enrollment Deadline is December 23

Dec 20, 2013

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. 

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. 

California Health Insurers Restrict Doctor Choice To Lower Costs

Dec 13, 2013
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.  

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Maricela Mares Alatorre says she has a “hate-hate” relationship with Kettleman City’s water, which contains unsafe amounts of naturally occurring arsenic.

“Usually, very early in the morning or late at night, there’s like a petroleum smell, like gas,” Alatorre says. “Sometimes during the day, while we’re washing the dishes, we’ll have a white dish, and all of a sudden, we’ll see the water is totally brown.” 

Courtesy of Teresa De Anda

When you arrive at Teresa De Anda’s house on the edge of Earlimart, you might think the biggest health threat here is her pack of dogs. But from De Anda’s perspective, the almond orchard directly across the street, and the nearby vineyards and fields, are much more dangerous.

“It’s nice not having neighbors across the street, but it’s not nice having all the spraying and the tilling and the dirt and the bees,” De Anda says.

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

Dec 4, 2013

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.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Operators have responded to about 400,000 calls since Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, launched Oct. 1. Starting this week, employees at the new Fresno Service Center will also answer questions, and help people enroll in health insurance.

“Fresno is a community that reflects the diversity of California, and that’s who we need to have on our phones, serving Californians,” said Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California.

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

Nov 14, 2013
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.