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Covered California 2015 rates by region and plan comparison

How health insurance companies and health plans determine premium rate increases is a little bit of a mystery. Covered California didn’t add to the consumer’s understanding of this process when they released their 2015 health insurance booklet. The plan rates booklet is mostly marketing material and fails to provide specific rates by region, carrier, and […]


Water rights are a myth

At a recent San Juan Water District (SJWD) Board meeting one of the Board members declared that the district would defend, with a lawsuit if necessary, their pre-1914 water rights to American River water during a period of drought. This board member’s passion that this government agency “owned” water because of a man made dam built during California’s gold rush struck me as pure folly. Water rights are a myth. No one owns the water flowing in a river.


Medi-Cal adult dental is back

As of May 1, 2014, limited dental services will be included for adults, 21 years and older, that are on Medi-Cal. Adult dental Medi-Cal services were removed during the California budget crisis in 2009. Some counties may require adults to enroll in a dental manage care plan while others will offer a Fee-For-Service program. The Denti-Cal adult services will be the same whether they are obtained through a plan or through a Denti-Cal participating dentist or clinic. The challenge for adults in rural counties will be finding a dentist that accepts Denti-Cal.


Cigna offers individual plans outside of Covered California

Covered California doesn’t have a monopoly on individual and family health plans in California. In addition to the carriers participating in the California exchange, Cigna is also offering health insurance outside of Covered California. Cigna is offering eleven different individual and family plan (IFP) options in California: seven Baseline Portfolio plans and four plans that mirror the Covered California standard metal tier levels for 2014. None of their plans are available through Covered California for the Advanced Premium Tax Credit.


New water rate model for California drought

With the impending drought in California we are long over due for a residential water rate restructuring. No longer can we continue to price water based on water district’s budgets to meet their financial goals. We need a reality based seasonally adjusted water rate structure model that should be based on a consumer’s lot size, home type and the specific climate of the region. Such a rate structure would give homeowners and irrigation managers a benchmark on how much water they should be using and real incentives to conserve.


California Republicans: sick people cost too much

The California Assembly Republican Caucus has declared that people with pre-existing conditions are the root cause of escalating health care costs. From their statements on their website Covering Health Care: A California Resource Guide, one can only come to the conclusion that California Republicans feel that sick people should be denied guarantee issue health insurance so premiums of healthy people won’t be adversely affected.


California Medicare Advantage Plan Star Ratings

If a Medicare Advantage plan has been awarded a 5 Star rating from Medicare you’ll see that trumpeted in TV commercials and print advertising. The star rating that either the Medicare Advantage or Part D Prescription Drug plan must display is a composite of 35 different measurements. Perhaps the most important rating for most beneficiaries is the level of customer service if there is a problem.


California Medicare Part D Prescription Plans for 2014

California Medicare beneficiaries will have over thirty Part D Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) to choose from in 2014. But a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study found that upwards of 80% of individuals never switch their PDP even if new plans offer better coverage and a lower premium.


California Farm Bureau Health Plans Closing

As a consequence of the Affordable Care Act, Health Net will have to discontinue offering health plans to California Farm Bureau Federation members in 2014. Current Health Net members in the affected plans will be receiving letters from the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) notifying them of the discontinued health insurance.


Medicare Advantage Plan Closures in California 2014

Thousands of Medicare Advantage plan members in California are receiving letters that their health plans are closing from carriers such as Anthem Blue Cross and Health Net. Some of the health insurance companies will be leaving some counties completely while others will be offering new Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to their members. Regardless of the reasons, the plan closure triggers a Special Enrollment Period for Medicare beneficiaries to select a new plan offered in their county.


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