Bernard J. Wolfson
Bernard J. Wolfson
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Covered California Announces Record-Low Rate Hike for 2021

Covered California Announces Record-Low Rate Hike for 2021

Premiums for health plans sold through Covered California, the state’s Affordable Care Act insurance exchange, will rise an average of 0.6% next year — the smallest hike since it started providing coverage in 2014, the agency announced Tuesday.The modest increase follows an average statewide  on coverage that started in January of this year, which was the previous record low.The rate changes will vary across regions, ranging from an average increase of 5.6% in Santa Clara County to reductions of 2.1% in southwestern Los Angeles County and 2.6% in Mono, Inyo and Imperial counties.Before the...

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Bernard J. Wolfson
4d ago
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Don’t Count on Lower Premiums Despite Pandemic-Driven Boon for Insurers

Don’t Count on Lower Premiums Despite Pandemic-Driven Boon for Insurers

When COVID-19 smacked the United States in March and April, health plans feared medical costs could skyrocket, jacking up premiums drastically in 2021, when millions of the newly unemployed might still be out of work.But something else happened: Non-COVID care collapsed as hospitals emptied beds and shut down operating rooms to prepare for an expected onslaught of patients sickened by the coronavirus, while fear of contracting it kept people away from ERs, doctors’ offices and outpatient clinics. In many regions of the country, the onslaught did not come, and the billions of dollars lost by...

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Bernard J. Wolfson
Jul 31
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Puedes ver a amigos y familiares durante la pandemia, pero sigue estas reglas

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

Noticias en español es una sección de Kaiser Health News que contiene traducciones de artículos de gran interés para la comunidad hispanohablante, y contenido original enfocado en la población hispana que vive en los Estados Unidos.Este contenido puede usarse de manera gratuita ().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?Pero Houston, y San Antonio, Phoenix, Miami y...

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Bernard J. Wolfson
Jul 14
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You Can See Friends and Relatives During the Pandemic Surge — But Do It Carefully

You Can See Friends and Relatives During the Pandemic Surge — But Do It Carefully

A series of columns addressing the challenges consumers face in California’s health care landscape.Send questions to .Cooped up too long, yearning for a day at the beach or a night on the town — and enticed by the easing of restrictions just as the warm weather arrived — many people have bolted from the confines of home. And who can blame them?But Houston — and San Antonio and Phoenix and Miami and Los Angeles — we have a problem.COVID-19 is spiking in Texas, Arizona, Florida, California and other states, forcing officials once again to shut down bars, gyms and the indoor-dining sections of...

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Bernard J. Wolfson
Jul 14
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COVID-Tracking Apps Proliferate, But Will They Really Help?

COVID-Tracking Apps Proliferate, But Will They Really Help?

This story also ran on .My 18-year-old daughter, Caroline, responded quickly when I told her that she’d soon be able to download an app to alert her when she had been in risky proximity to someone with COVID-19, and that public health officials hoped to fight the pandemic with such apps.“Yeah, but nobody will use them,” she replied.My young smartphone addict’s dismissal sums up a burning question facing technologists around the country as they seek to develop and roll out apps to track the pandemic.The app developers, and the public health experts who are watching closely, worry that if...

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Bernard J. Wolfson
Jul 8
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¿Funcionarán las aplicaciones de rastreo para COVID?

¿Funcionarán las aplicaciones de rastreo para COVID?

Noticias en español es una sección de Kaiser Health News que contiene traducciones de artículos de gran interés para la comunidad hispanohablante, y contenido original enfocado en la población hispana que vive en los Estados Unidos.Cuando le dije a mi hija de 18 años, Caroline, que pronto podría descargar una aplicación para alertarla si se había estado recientemente en una situación de riesgo cerca de alguien con COVID-19, y que los funcionarios de salud pública esperaban combatir la pandemia con esas apps, su respuesta fue tajante.“OK, pero nadie las va a usar”, respondió.El pesimismo de...

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Bernard J. Wolfson
Jul 8
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Easy To Say ‘Get Tested.’ Harder To Do. Here’s How.

Easy To Say ‘Get Tested.’ Harder To Do. Here’s How.

Will Bondurant decided to get tested for COVID-19 after attending three racial justice demonstrations over a five-day period in San Francisco, where he lives.The first, , “was the scariest and most risky from the point of view of COVID infection,” said Bondurant, 31. Although most wore masks, participants were jammed in, unable at times to maintain the recommended 6-foot distance, he said.Bondurant did not have any COVID symptoms but went for the test because he had a meeting scheduled the following weekend with a friend in his late 70s.Subscribe to KHN’s free Weekly Edition newsletter,...

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Bernard J. Wolfson
Jun 22
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Society Is Reopening. Prepare To Hunker Down At Home Again.

Society Is Reopening. Prepare To Hunker Down At Home Again.

A series of columns addressing the challenges consumers face in California’s health care landscape.Send questions to .Even before the May 25 killing of George Floyd in police custody drew large crowds of protesters into the streets of U.S. cities, people were beginning to throng beaches, bars and restaurants. Whether for economic, social or political reasons, our home confinement seems to be ending.Or is it?Public health officials warn that a hasty reopening will generate a second wave of COVID-19 infections. That could delay a return to economic and social normalcy ― or even force us back...

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Bernard J. Wolfson
Jun 9
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The Pandemic Is Hurting Pediatric Hospitals, Too

The Pandemic Is Hurting Pediatric Hospitals, Too

This story also ran on .Children have largely escaped the ravages of COVID-19, but children’s hospitals have not eluded the financial pain the pandemic has wrought on health care providers.Pediatric hospitals offered themselves as backups to their adult counterparts in case of a surge of coronavirus patients. They suspended nonemergency surgeries and stockpiled protective gear and virus test kits, according to hospital executives and financial analysts.Subscribe to KHN’s free Morning Briefing.But, in many regions, the surge was smaller than anticipated – or hasn’t materialized. And...

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Bernard J. Wolfson
May 19
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Trying Out LA’s New Coronavirus Testing Regime

Trying Out LA’s New Coronavirus Testing Regime

This story also ran on .Last week, after Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that Los Angeles was offering COVID-19 tests to all city and county residents, I decided to get one myself — and test Garcetti’s bold new promise in the bargain.I was surprised how easily I was able to . I answered a few questions about myself, including whether I had any symptoms of the disease — the answer was no — and within three minutes, I had a same-day appointment at one of eight city-run testing sites.In fact, it was a same-hour appointment. I rushed out of the house unshowered to drive across a large swath of...

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Bernard J. Wolfson
May 8
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The Challenges Of Keeping Young Adults Safe During The Pandemic

The Challenges Of Keeping Young Adults Safe During The Pandemic

A series of columns addressing the challenges consumers face in California’s health care landscape.Send questions to .Last month, after California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered most of the state’s residents to , I found myself under virtual house arrest with an uncomfortably large number of Gen Zers.Somehow I had accumulated four of my children’s friends over the preceding months. I suppose some parents more hard-nosed than I would have sent them packing, but I didn’t have the heart — especially in the case of my daughter’s college roommate, who couldn’t get back to her family in Vietnam.So, I...

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Bernard J. Wolfson
Apr 29
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Battling A Pandemic Across 4,750 Square Miles And 10 Million People

Battling A Pandemic Across 4,750 Square Miles And 10 Million People

LOS ANGELES — Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County’s top health official, is in the hot seat as the COVID-19 pandemic exacts its rising toll.With over 10 million residents, the county is by far California’s largest, and it has the most confirmed coronavirus cases. Ferrer, who has been director of the Department of Public Health for three years, leads a daily press briefing in which she tries to keep up morale while dutifully reciting the latest sobering statistics.On Thursday, she reported 7,955 confirmed COVID-19 infections countywide, up from 16 a month ago. Twenty-five new deaths brought...

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Bernard J. Wolfson
Apr 13
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Crushed By A Hospital Bill? Stand Up For Yourself

Crushed By A Hospital Bill? Stand Up For Yourself

March 11, 2020The cost of medical treatment depleted Frances Edwards’ savings after she was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma in October 2016 — even though she has insurance.In early 2019, she owed $6,400 in out-of-pocket charges for her first two cancer treatments of the year, and she knew there was no way she could pay.“I was like, ‘Oh, my God, how am I going to do this?’” recalls Edwards, 74, who lives in Cambria, on California’s Central Coast, and drives 450 miles round trip every five weeks for treatment at the University of Southern California’s in Los Angeles.She discussed the bills...

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Bernard J. Wolfson
Mar 11
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