By Twinkle VanFleet
A workplace accident in 2001 changed my life forever. While working as a part-time grocery checker and cashier, I suffered an incident that led to the tendons being torn from the bones of my right foot. After an initial misdiagnosis, I ultimately discovered that I had a rare central nervous system disorder that subsequently altered my skin, blood vessels, muscles, bones, and caused atrophy and other issues to my body. Since my accident, pain has become an unbearable, unmanageable, and near-constant presence in my life.
By Judi Hilman
The New Year 2015 brings fresh opportunity to deliver on the promise of health reform and affordable coverage and care, and several new laws went into effect on January 1st.
SB 964 Provider Network Adequacy (Hernandez) addresses the issue of narrow networks and whether enrollees in health plans (including but not limited to those in Covered CA and Medi-Cal) have adequate access to care. With more and more Californians signing up for coverage in this second open enrollment season, this law, which requires the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) to provide stronger oversight of network adequacy, was long overdue.
By J.G. Preston
Consumer Attorneys of California
Proposition 46, the patient safety initiative on California’s November ballot, would adjust the state’s 39-year-old cap on compensation for non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases to give it the same economic value it had when it was enacted in 1975 (it has not changed since). “Non-economic damages” are awarded as compensation for such harm as the loss of limbs, brain damage, ongoing crippling pain, or the death of a child, just to name a few.
By Josh Libresco
I have a wife and two children. My daughter just finished her freshman year in college; my son is in high school. I have lived in California for most of my life, and have worked in marketing research most of my career. I spent the first 20 years of my career working for larger companies, but in 1997, I went off on my own. My health care was covered under COBRA for a while, and I started an individual (family) policy with Anthem Blue Cross in 1998 paying $151 each month for a plan with no deductible and a $10 co-pay for office visits.
By Anthony Wright
Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his May Revision of the State Budget for 2014-15, by trumpeting the strong and successful effort to cover more Californians in Medi-Cal coverage.
“This is good news for California,” he started, referring to a $2.4 billion more in revenues since the January budget, before indicating how the money would be spent. But the Governor did not propose new investments, restorations, or commitments in health and human services in this budget, but rather pointed to the increased Medi-Cal enrollment as where the added revenues are already going.
By Liz Helms
California Chronic Care Coalition
California health insurance plans are jeopardizing patient health by moving vital medications to so-called “specialty tiers,” which place the cost of treatment beyond the reach of most patients and which may be illegal under both California and federal discrimination laws.
Rather than paying a fixed copayment, Californians whose medications are placed on specialty tiers are often forced to pay coinsurance – or a percentage of the total cost of the drugs – which can mean hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month in out-of-pocket costs for a single medication.
By Claude Fischer
It’s 1974. Richard Nixon resigns the presidency; Barbara Streisand is singing, “The Way We Were” all over the radio (that music-playing thing before the internet); and you can buy a hand calculator that can only add, subtract, multiply, and divide for, in today’s currency, $100. Someone asks you: Here are three pretty radical ideas – which do you think is likely to happen first, if ever?
By Anthony Wright
Consumer, community, and health organizations cheered new studies Tuesday from University of California showing how the state has gone beyond federal law to extend coverage to immigrant youth who have “deferred action” status. The studies show that this expansion, including in last year’s California budget and Medi-Cal expansion under the Affordable Care Act, extends to 125,000 Californians with “deferred action” immigration status, including DREAM Act students and young adults.
The first two parts of the report are available for download here.
By Viji Sundaram
Seventy-four year old Willie Posey has his hands full keeping up with his own health care needs, which include diabetes, a bad knee and neurological problems. On top of that, he also drives his 87-year-old sister to the hospital for her dialysis treatment.
Posey's income barely tops $15,000 a year, combining Social Security payments with $400 a month as his sister's caregiver, and another $400 a month as a facilitator for recovering drug addicts. Both he and his sister qualify for Medi-Cal, California's name for Medicaid, the insurance program for low-income people. They are also enrolled in Medicare, the federal insurance program for elders and people with disabilities. Since they qualify for both programs, they are known as dual eligibles.
By Anthony Wright
Last Thursday, Covered California voted to provide more direct outreach and assistance to Californians who need to switch health plans at the end of the year. A special hotline number will be extended for consumers impacted, to walk them through their options:
Help with New Options