CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 1, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - Even before the FBI raided state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon's Capitol office as part of a corruption investigation, some of his strongest supporters were already distancing themselves from the Montebello Democrat. About six months before the June raid, some corporate benefactors had begun revamping a political committee they funded that was generous to him and his brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, a leader of the organization until late 2011. In addition to aiding Democratic candidates, the group, called Diversity PAC, had paid for travel, expensive dinners and other perks for both siblings.
November 18, 2013 |
California officials said three of the state's largest health insurers illegally denied speech and occupational therapy to patients, and regulators fined one of the companies, Health Net Inc., $300,000 for repeated violations. The state Department of Managed Health Care said Monday that it ordered Health Net, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California to stop denying medically necessary therapy in cases of developmental disabilities, autism and other medical conditions. The state said the three insurers will be required to reimburse patients who paid out of pocket for these improperly denied treatments.
November 4, 2013 |
In a new line of attack on canceled health policies, two California residents are suing insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross, alleging they were misled into giving up their previous coverage. About 900,000 Californians and many more nationwide have received cancellation notices on their individual health insurance policies, triggering a public uproar against the rollout of President Obama's healthcare law. Some consumers have complained about hefty rate hikes from the forced upgrades because their current plans don't meet all the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Much of the consumer anger has been directed at Obama's repeated pledge that Americans could keep their existing health insurance if they liked it despite the massive overhaul.
October 29, 2013 |
The Obama administration came out with a report Monday arguing that 1 million single adults between the ages of 18 and 35 will be eligible for an Obamacare insurance plan costing less than $50 a month. That's news to me. I'm a healthy 34-year-old with a taxable income hovering right around the Obamacare subsidy level who, for the last several years, has purchased a relatively inexpensive catastrophic health insurance plan from Blue Shield. I get to see the doctor four times a year for a $30 co-pay, and I won't have to spend the rest of my life working off the debt if I get hit by a bus. Last month, however, I received a letter from my insurance company informing me that my plan was “no longer available” due to “new requirements for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.” I am being funneled into the closest equivalent plan under the new California health exchange, and my monthly premium is going to rise by nearly 43% to $214 a month.
August 28, 2013 |
As hospitals race to offer the latest in high-tech care, a major California health insurer is pushing back and refusing to pay for some of the more expensive and controversial cancer treatments. Blue Shield of California is taking on this high-cost radiation treatment just as Scripps Health in San Diego prepares to open a gleaming, $230-million proton beam therapy center this fall, only the second one in California and the 12th nationwide. This week, Blue Shield began notifying doctors statewide of its new policy for early-stage prostate cancer patients, effective in October.
August 7, 2013 |
California signed contracts with 12 health insurers for its new state-run marketplace, but the Ventura County Health Care Plan unexpectedly dropped out. Covered California, which is implementing the federal healthcare law in the state, said it supported Ventura County's decision to opt out next year and that it welcomes a subsequent bid for 2015. The exchange said it will now provide three health plans -- Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California -- to Ventura County residents.
June 25, 2013 |
Flavio de Pecol hit the trifecta after taking his daughter to the emergency room for a horse-riding injury: hours of waiting, a 16-mile ambulance ride to a different facility and bills for more than $40,000. At least, he thought, that was the end of it. But nearly two years after his daughter's whirlwind tour of the U.S. healthcare system, De Pecol, of Newport Beach, has received yet another bill, this time for $1,054.53 that UC Irvine Medical Center failed to charge him the first time around.
June 20, 2013 |
The California Public Employees' Retirement System, the country's third-largest purchaser of health benefits, said its health insurance premiums next year would increase 3%, on average, for nearly 1.3 million members. The giant pension fund said that would mark its smallest rate increase since 1998. Premiums at CalPERS rose 9.6% this year and 4.1% in 2012. The CalPERS Board of Administration gave final approval to the rates Wednesday, and they take effect for various plans Jan. 1. "The lower rates most members will see next year are the result of successful rate negotiations with existing and new health plan providers," said George Diehr, vice chairman of CalPERS' pension and health benefits committee.
June 20, 2013 |
Insurance giant WellPoint Inc. has agreed to pay $6 million to resolve allegations that the company improperly dropped policyholders after they got sick and needed treatment. The settlement announced Thursday by Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich caps a long-running investigation into so-called rescissions by several insurers in the state. "Patients with health insurance have a right to expect meaningful coverage when they need it most -- when they are ill and in need of medical treatment," Trutanich said.
June 18, 2013 |
Blue Shield of California, already facing a Los Angeles ethics complaint over potential conflicts of interest, is poised to take a lucrative health insurance contract for city workers away from rival Anthem Blue Cross. The proposed three-year deal is still subject to approval by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Under Blue Shield's offer, the city would pay 2% more, or $112 million, in premiums next year for these HMO and PPO plans. That was nearly $9 million less than Anthem's $121-million bid, which represented a 10% increase over the current year.