by Chris Huckins Google+ Email 


26 June 2014

Covered California Adds Cedars Sinai and Thousands of Doctors

Posted in Latest News

"What insurance does Cedars Sinai take? HMO? PPO? Will my doctor know the Kardashians?" Out of all the confusion from Obamacare, these are the most frequently asked questions.

Ranked #13 in America's Best Hospitals, Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles was initially too expensive for Covered California to list as a provider when Obamacare plans debuted last year. In order to keep costs for health insurance low, Covered California and participating carriers had to limit their network, which meant hospitals used by Elizabeth Taylor were out. 

But like her White Diamond perfume, the smell of success was irresistible. Months into open enrollment, Anthem Blue Cross included Cedars Sinai to ensure customers getting colonoscopies for example got the Hollywood treatment. It was a little too late for most to realize. 

While Covered California's website debuted in October last year, it lacked a "Search for Provider" tool until November. After customers complained of duplicate and erroneous entries, the tool was taken down in February like an overcrowded Thai ferry. To discover if doctors accepted certain insurance plans, customers had to call and ask the old school way. 

Anthem Blue Cross quietly added 3800 doctors and hospitals to its Covered California networks during the first 5 months of 2014, including Cedars Sinai and UC Davis Medical Center. But only certain individual health insurance plans included these hospitals: 

Anthem Blue Cross EPO (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum), HealthNet Bronze PPO, HealthNet Catastrophic (for those under 30), and HealthNet Tribal (for Native Americans) 

Effective immediately, Anthem policies should include these hospitals, but it's definitely a good idea to confirm with the front desk. That means call Cedars because there still isn't a provider directory through Covered California. 

Due in part to the addition of pricier hospitals, President of Thousand Oaks's Anthem Blue Cross, Mark Morgan announced insurance premiums might go up 10 percent next year. That means less people can afford White Diamonds.   

20 June 2014

#FelonCrushFriday: How to Get Health Insurance for the Incarcerated

Posted in Latest News

Whether imprisoned for committing Medicare fraud in Los Angeles or forgetting to pay Jabba, chances are you're wondering how to get health insurance when you're released, especially to treat your vision from being Carbonite frozen. 

Obamacare helps criminals for a couple reasons, not to say that's a selling point for insurance agents. To be truthful, the law can't help but bend for Jeremy Meeks and the cast of Orange is the New Black, even if Covered California doesn't tweet #FelonCrushFriday.

Qualifying life events, like being released from incarceration, entitles former prisoners to get health insurance within 60 days of their new found freedom. They must provide release documentation to prove they were ineligible to sign up prior according to Covered California

Prisoners are also exempt from the tax penalty that everyone on the outside without health insurance is subject to. Since prisoners get free healthcare, they don't really need health insurance, especially if their prison wives/husbands protect them from harm in the first place. 

If you're under house arrest, parole, or probation you aren't considered incarcerated under Obamacare, so you can sign up for health insurance. You're also subject to the penalty if you don't. Or just break your parole and ankle alarm, end up in the slammer, and avoid the tax penalty altogether. 

If you're in jail, haven't been sentenced, and are currently eating a continental prison breakfast,  you still can apply for health insurance. Just use your free phone call to dial Haronian Insurance. 

19 June 2014

Optimus Prime Could Uber You Around Los Angeles

Posted in Latest News

The safest, cheapest auto insurance in Los Angeles may be Autobots. Well that's just prime.

Uber, a transportation company that hires people to use their personal vehicles instead of taxis, just added a new driver to its payroll, Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots and Shia Lebouf's former chauffeur.

It's a promotion for car insurance, I mean, the latest Transformers movie, Age of Extinction and Uber made the right choice of a good guy over a Dinobot. It also wisely selected the best cities on Earth to "roll out" its publicity stunt: Dallas, Phoenix, and where cars are like cockroaches, Los Angeles.

If you live in LA, you get the chance to ride in Optimus Prime on Saturday June 21 from 1 pm - 7 pm by opening your Uber App, selecting the "Autobots" option, picking a location, and selecting "Roll Out!".

If you're lucky, Optimus will appear in his flaming blue and red Western Star form for a ride that lasts 15 minutes, so cut to the chase and ask him to make the "Chkchoo chkch chck" sound. Note: According to Transformers Wiki, "There is no definitive onomatopoeia for the Transformation noise".

Just when you thought it couldn't get any cooler, Uber recently lowered its rates by 25% in Los Angeles, touting it costs customers 40% less than a taxi ride. The Transformer ride, by the way is free.

While you're deciding where Optimus should take you: Cybertron, Michael Bay's Exploding Guest House, or Walburger's, consider being dropped off at a stranger's house for a homecooked meal through the food equivalent of Uber, EatWith.

It's worth the experience, and who knows, Starscream might make you a quiche.

18 June 2014

5 Most Creative Rolls for International Sushi Day

Posted in Health & Wellness

5 Most Creative Rolls for International Sushi Day

Today is International Sushi Day and if you've visited the best sushi restaurants in Los Angeles, you probably knew how unhealthy sushi was when you left with more "rolls". Mayonnaise, sodium-filled soy sauce, white rice, and deep fried rolls are delicious, but defeat sushi's healthy reputation. 

Sashimi is a fish-only alternative and relatively healthier, albeit with risk of containing more Mercury. It doesn't have its own holiday, though.

The following original sushi rolls are neither healthy nor made with the previously-mentioned ingredients, but should still be enjoyed if this is your first International Sushi Day. 

Candy Sushi

Food explorer and Dumb & Dumber aficionado, Kim Becker earned her namesake "MommyKnows" from out-smarting your dad with such recipes as: Kool-Aid hair dye and sushi made from Swedish fish, rice crispy treats (for rice - brilliant!), and fruit roll up "seaweed". If only she could do something with Petey the Parakeet's head. 

Cowboy Sushi

Alternatively, "Redneck Sushi" combines dill pickles, cream cheese, and just before we throw in some cigarettes; Buddig Beef, a deli meat sold in the Midwest. Apparently if you're feeding a cowboy, he won't eat anything without cream cheese, you know; the food product synonymous with Philadelphia, Texas. 

Hot dog Sushi

 During the Korean War, rations of Spam were delivered to American soldiers, many of whom were married to Korean locals. The wives would cook the processed meat (a "delicacy"), vegetables, and whatever rations they could find into "budae jjigae" or "army base stew". Generations later, hot dogs and Spam wrapped into sushi rolls called "Kimbap" are to every Korean Baptist church picnic as lemon squares are to every Protestant potluck. 

Lego Sushi

Edible for Ages 6+. What other recipe calls for Storm Troopers, a pirate flag,  and those little orange flames I always lose? Oh yeah: "Budae jjigae". 

Obama Sushi

Okay, this one has fish. But why not celebrate the penultimate sushi day with Obama in office by eating him? Made of shrimp, fish paste, and black sesame, the Obama Roll is complimented by wasabi, soy sauce, and MSNBC. 

16 June 2014

Proposition 45 Lets California Veto Unfair Health Insurance Rate Hikes

Posted in Individual Health Insurance

A federal study showed Californians spent less on auto insurance in 2010 than they did in 1989. That's compared to the rest of the United States, which actually spent 43% more in 2010 than the Golden State. Why hasn't health insurance in California decreased the same way?

Anthem Blue Cross president Mark Morgan revealed at a Los Angeles town hall that premiums would rise up to 10% in 2015. At least that's a smaller hike than 2012's, when Anthem proposed increasing rates by 20% for individuals with health insurance in California.

But nobody should just take a rate increase like an overdue colonoscopy. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who's up for reelection this fall, reminded voters that Proposition 45, also on November's ballot, would give the California Department of Insurance vetoing power to put a plug in unjust rate hikes. 

While 35 states can block unjust health insurance rate hikes, California can only dream of it. 70% of Californians already support Proposition 45.

In 2013 the public advocacy group Consumer Watchdog partnered with the California Department of Insurance and Commissioner Jones to review health insurance rate hikes.

Consumer Watchdog's founder, Harvey Rosenfield introduced Proposition 103 to California in 1988, which was the successful auto insurance equivalent to 2014's health Proposition 45. Its passage led to Californians spending less on auto insurance today than in the 80s.

Since 1988 Proposition 103 has required insurance companies to publicly justify rate hikes for auto and home insurance, saving California $102 billion. Health insurance may join the club if Prop 45 in California passes. 

Before announcing rates next year would still go up, in April Anthem proposed raising health insurance premiums by 25%, albeit for over 300,000 Californians. That wasn't all they were up to. 

Earlier this year Anthem and its partner company, Wellpoint, spent $12.9 million on the lobbyist group, Californians Against Higher Health Care Costs, to try and block Commissioner Jones' Proposition 45 on Primary Day. That's on top of Kaiser Permanente's and Blue Shield's $23.5 million contribution. The lobbyist group claimed more regulations would require more taxpayer money and raise insurance prices. 

Which do you think will prevent continuous rate hikes: the Insurance Commissioner regulating rate hikes or the insurance companies blocking rate hike regulation?