Category: Asking Never Hurts

  • California Opens Medicaid to Older Unauthorized Immigrants

    On May 1, California opened Medi-Cal to older immigrants residing in the state without legal permission. Unauthorized immigrants over age 49 who fall below certain income thresholds are now eligible for full coverage by Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid, the federal-state partnership that provides health insurance to low-income people. Unauthorized immigrants of all ages account […]

  • Record Fines Might Mean California Is Finally Serious About Improving Medi-Cal

    Is California getting tougher on health plans that participate in Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance program for low-income residents? A few weeks ago, state regulators imposed a record $55 million in fines on L.A. Care, California’s largest Medi-Cal managed-care plan, for failing to ensure adequate care and allowing treatment delays that threatened enrollees’ health. Patient advocates […]

  • J&J-Vaxxed, mRNA-Boosted, and Pondering a Third Shot

    Yes, we are all exhausted by the covid pandemic. Flummoxed by the constantly shifting science and guidelines. Worried about a succession of scary new variants, each with its own name, like hurricanes. But a sizable minority — nearly 17 million U.S. residents, including me — has its own special quandary. Our initial vaccine was Johnson […]

  • What the Federal ‘No Surprises Act’ Means in California

    Betty Chow, a Los Angeles resident, had a cervical disc replaced in August 2020 at a surgery center that was part of her Anthem Blue Cross PPO network. Thirteen months later, she was blindsided by a bill for nearly $2,000 from the anesthesiologist who was on her surgical team but was not contracted with her […]

  • New California Law Eases Aid-in-Dying Process

    During her three-year battle with breast cancer, my wife, Leslie, graciously endured multiple rounds of horrifically toxic treatment to eke out more time with our two young children. But after 18 cancer-free months, the disease returned with a vengeance in June 2003. It fractured her bones and invaded her spinal canal, bathing her brain in […]

  • Your Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs Need Not Be a Mystery

    If you’ve ever had a serious illness or cared for someone who has, you know how quickly the medical bills can pile up: from labs, radiology clinics, pharmacies, doctors, different departments within the same hospital — some of them in your insurance network, others not. It can be extremely confusing, no matter how clever you […]

  • California Law Aims to Strengthen Access to Mental Health Services

    The number of people with symptoms of depression and anxiety has nearly quadrupled during the covid pandemic, which has made it even more maddeningly difficult to get timely mental health care, even if you have good insurance. A California law signed Oct. 8 by Gov. Gavin Newsom could help. It requires that mental health and […]

  • Wildfire Smoke Is Here to Stay. Here’s How to Clean the Air Inside Your Home.

    The fierce wildfires that broke out across much of the western United States this summer, spreading smoke across hundreds of miles, continue to pose a serious health hazard to millions. More are expected this fall. That’s a major health concern because microscopic particles in wildfire smoke, carried by the wind, can penetrate deep into your […]

  • Effort to Decipher Hospital Prices Yields Key Finding: Don’t Try It at Home

    A federal price transparency rule that took effect this year was supposed to give patients, employers and insurers a clearer picture of the true cost of hospital care. When the Trump administration unveiled the rule in 2019, Seema Verma, then chief of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, promised it would “upend the status […]

  • Being Vaccinated Doesn’t Mean You Must Go Maskless. Here’s Why.

    For more than a year, public health officials have repeatedly told us that masks save lives. They’ve warned us to keep our distance from our neighbors, who’ve morphed into disease vectors before our eyes. Now they are telling us that if we’re vaccinated, we no longer need to wear masks or physically distance ourselves in […]

  • Covered California Says Health Insurance Just Got Too Cheap to Ignore

    If you are uninsured because health coverage seemed too expensive the last time you looked, it’s time to look again. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. A new federal law could make it a whole lot cheaper to buy your own insurance if you don’t get coverage through an employer or a […]

  • So You’re Vaccinated Against Covid. Now What?

    As you surely know, this country’s covid vaccination effort has been plagued by major birth pangs: registration snafus, poor communication, faulty data and a scant supply of vaccine — all exacerbated by inequitable allocation, alleged political favoritism and unseemly jockeying for shots. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. Still, as of Friday, […]

  • New California Law Makes It Easier to Get Care for Mental Health and Substance Abuse

    USE OUR CONTENT It can be republished for free. Karen Bailey’s 20-year-old daughter has struggled with depression and anxiety for years. Since 2017, she’s been in three intensive group therapy programs and, each time, the family’s insurer cut her coverage short, says Bailey. “At a certain point, they would send us a form letter saying: […]

  • COVID Vaccines Appear Safe and Effective, but Key Questions Remain

    Use Our Content It can be republished for free. The recent rollout of two newly authorized COVID-19 vaccines is a bright ray of hope at the pandemic’s darkest hour. We now have a path that can lead us to happier times — even as we watch and suffer from the horrible onslaught of new infections, […]

  • Medicare Open Enrollment Is Complicated. Here’s How to Get Good Advice.

    If you’ve been watching TV lately, you may have seen actor Danny Glover or Joe Namath, the 77-year-old NFL legend, urging you to call an 800 number to get fabulous extra benefits from Medicare. There are plenty of other Medicare ads, too, many set against a red-white-and-blue background meant to suggest officialdom — though if […]

  • It’s Open Enrollment. Here’s What You Need to Know

    California’s annual health insurance enrollment season for individuals and families kicks off this week against a dramatic backdrop: the hotly contested presidential election; a pandemic raging out of control in much of the U.S.; and, on Nov. 10, a Supreme Court hearing of a case that could end the Affordable Care Act and strand millions […]

  • ¿Estás internado? Todavía puedes votar en gran parte del país

    Johnathon Talamantes se rompió la cadera en un accidente de auto el 22 de octubre y se sometió a una cirugía cinco días después en un hospital público cerca del centro de Los Angeles. Talamantes tendrá que estar en el hospital del condado de LA USC Medical Center hasta pasadas las elecciones, algo que le […]

  • Hospitalized? You Can Still Vote in Most Parts of the Country

    Johnathon Talamantes, of South-Central Los Angeles, broke his hip in a car accident on Oct. 22 and underwent surgery five days later at a public hospital near downtown. His post-op recovery will keep him in the hospital, L.A. County+USC Medical Center, beyond Election Day, and as he prepared himself for the surgery, he wondered what […]

  • Telemedicine or In-Person Visit? Pros and Cons

    As COVID-19 took hold in March, U.S. doctors limited in-person appointments — and many patients avoided them — for fear of infection. The result was a huge increase in the volume of remote medical and behavioral health visits. Doctors, hospitals and mental health providers across the country reported a 50- to 175-fold rise in the […]

  • Wildfires Provide Another Reason to Mask Up

    If you have declined to wear a face mask during the COVID-19 crisis, you might want to reconsider, as the smoke from over 300 wildfires chokes people across central and Northern California. But you are going to have to think a little more about what kind of mask is best. The fires have spewed toxic […]

  • Puedes ver a amigos y familiares durante la pandemia, pero sigue estas reglas

    Use Nuestro Contenido Este contenido puede usarse de manera gratuita (detalles). Después de un encierro prolongado, anhelando un día en la playa o una noche en la ciudad —y atraídos por el alivio de las restricciones justo cuando llegan las cálidas temperaturas— muchas personas han salido corriendo de los confines del hogar. ¿Quién puede culparlos? […]