Big Pharma Loses a Drug Pricing Battle for a Change

The new Inflation Reduction Act contains the first-ever provision allowing the federal government to actually negotiate some drug prices instead of paying whatever the greedy pharmaceutical companies demand. The U.S. is the only major country that doesn’t routinely do this, which is why a) non-generic drug prices are often astronomical and b) we pay prices […]

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What Does “Out-of-Pocket Maximum” Mean?

Out-of-pocket maximum (OOPM) is the most you have to pay for covered services in a single year, aside from premiums. Once you reach your out-of-pocket max, your plan pays 100 percent of the allowed amount for covered services. For instance, if you rack up $25,000 in medical bills and your OOPM is $7,000, that’s the […]

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In California, Your Health Plan is Likely Required to Cover Abortions

California law is clear: Abortions are legal, and almost all health plans are required to cover them. That includes all private insurance plans offered by insurers such as Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser and UHC. Our colleagues at Warner Pacific put together a table with detailed info about each carrier. The only plans that aren’t required […]

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Biden and Democrats Save ACA Subsidy Improvements From Expiring

Great news for Californians and anyone in high-cost urban areas that are on individual and family (IFP) health insurance plans! The Inflation Reduction Act that is on it’s way to Biden’s desk for signature includes a three-year extension of the massive improvements in federal subsidies for IFP health insurance coverage. The increased subsidies make people […]

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Mexico Steps Up to Provide Americans Access to Abortion

Last year, the Mexican Supreme Court decriminalized abortion. Now, as our regressive Supreme Court and cruel Republican politicians work feverishly to restrict abortion in the U.S., Mexico is stepping up to fill the void. Mexican activists are planning to help shuttle Texans and other Americans seeking abortions into Mexico and to build networks to ferry […]

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California Modernizes Medical Malpractice Law

Starting January 1, 2023, Californians who believe they have been harmed by medical malpractice will be able to sue for up to $350,000 for “pain and suffering” (aka non-economic damages), an increase from $250,000, which had been the law since 1975. The cap will increase gradually to $750,000 over the next 10 years, with a […]

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How to Use COBRA to Get Free Catastrophic Health Insurance

You leave your job and your employer offers you continuous coverage through COBRA. Unless you are about to start a new job offering no lapse in coverage when you switch from your old employer’s plan to your new plan, you’re going to need coverage the day COBRA ends. But there’s actually a very cool way […]

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Highly Targeted Cancer Treatment Proves “Stunningly Successful”

Chemotherapy has become increasingly effective in slowing and stopping many cancers, but it is still mainly a broad-brush approach, filling the patient’s body with harmful chemicals to kill only a few cancerous cells. Researchers have been working for decades to develop the next generation of cancer drugs that are much more highly targeted at only […]

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Cannabis Use in the Workplace: Is it Legal?

Alcoholic beverages have long been associated with the workplace, from beer busts for staff to mixed drinks in the boss’ office. But what about cannabis? Now that it’s legal either as a “recreational” or “medical” drug in 39 of the 50 US states, is it ok to be stoned at work? In California, where it […]

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Small Business Deadline for CalSavers is Fast Approaching

The program mandates that almost all California businesses offer a retirement savings payroll deduction option no later than June 30, 2022 Do you have retirement savings? If you don’t, you are hardly alone. 49% of adults ages 55 to 66 had no personal retirement savings in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income […]

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Saving Money on Dental Implants by Going to Mexico

What if I told you that you could get a dental implant for $1,500 instead of the going rate in California of $3,500 or more? Would that perk up your ears? The catch: You have to travel to Mexico to get the great rates. Going to Mexico for dental work isn’t new. The cost of […]

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California is Gearing Up to Protect the Right to an Abortion

While it’s horrifying that the Supreme Court seems likely to either completely overturn Roe v. Wade or severely limit its scope, such a decision doesn’t make abortion illegal overnight. Roe made it illegal to write laws banning abortions. Overturning it means states can again make abortion illegal, but it doesn’t stop other states from continuing […]

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A plant-based diet is the best way to avoid heart disease

A report published in the Cardiovascular Research medical journal makes a convincing case that the best way to avoid heart disease is to avoid excess sodium, sugar, trans fat and ultra-processed foods, while eating a diet consisting of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish, eggs, poultry and dairy in their simplest forms, i.e. “whole […]

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Doctors and Hospitals Are Radically Over-Charging for Drugs

The prices that hospitals charge patients and their insurance companies for cancer drugs are often at least double what the hospital paid to acquire the drugs, according to a new study in the prestigious medical journal JAMA: Internal Medicine. In some cases, the hospitals marked the drugs up as much as 7X what it cost […]

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Some Doctors Say Prostate Cancer Is Over-Diagnosed

Some doctors are urging the medical community to stop using the word “cancer” to describe the lowest-grade form of the disease, which is common in men as they age and usually doesn’t lead to a more serious cancer diagnosis. A Gleason 6 score on a prostate cancer biopsy is the lowest score you can get, […]

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Telehealth Gaining Popularity Among Californians

More Californians are receiving care via telehealth than last year, according to an annual survey of healthcare trends by the California Health Care Foundation.  More than half (55%) of survey participants reported receiving care by phone in the last 12 months, an increase from 45% in last year’s poll, and more than 4 in 10 […]

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Finally, A Fix for Covered California’s “Family Glitch”

The Biden Administration is finally going to fix the “family glitch” in the Obamacare subsidy system. Biden doesn’t need Congressional approval – it’s a regulatory process only. Thank goodness – finally, a permanent improvement to the ACA that Congressional Republicans can’t sabotage. The family glitch is this: If an employee and their family are offered […]

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Californians may lose millions of dollars in healthcare subsidies if Congress doesn’t act

The generous healthcare subsidies Californians have been receiving will expire in 2023 unless our elected representative take swift action.  Californians benefited greatly from the improved subsidy system put in place by the federal government as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which passed in early 2021. The new method of calculating eligibility finally […]

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If You Received an Obamacare Subsidy, the 2021 Covid Relief Bill Changed How You File Your Taxes – And May Cost You Some Money

Obamacare Subsidy

If you received a subsidy to purchase health insurance through Covered California in 2021, you have to report that on your federal and state taxes due on April 18, 2022.  But take note – the subsidy system completely changed in May 2021 when the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) went into effect in the middle […]

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How Much Caffeine is Good For You?

Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world. People love it, and count on it, for its stimulative properties, especially first thing in the morning, when the body is waking up and caffeine blocks the neurotransmitter adenosine that promotes sleep. But after you wake up, do you really need it during the […]

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Scientists are infecting “organoids” with COVID to see what happens

Scientists are able to create tiny mini-organs no bigger than a lentil from artificially created stem cells and they are injecting them with Covid-19 to study the effects. The news was reported by Science Reporter Lisa Krieger.  “By creating disease in a dish,” Krieger wrote, “the scientists hope to better understand the mysteries of COVID. […]

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Surprise Bill? You probably used an out-of-network provider

Don’t be surprised if you choose an out-of-network medical provider to treat a health problem and get a huge bill as a result. Unfortunately, too many people do this and then blame everyone but themselves for the mistake. This article is about a woman who took her problem all the way to the Colorado Supreme […]

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Financial Love Letter to Heirs Will Give Them Peace of Mind

Having everything set up so your family or other beneficiaries know what to do when you die or become too ill to care for yourself is a true act of love. The author’s 76-year-old father gave her a file labeled “financial love letter,” containing a copy of his will and further instructions on what to […]

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Studies Find That Doctors Are More Likely to Describe Black Patients as Uncooperative

It’s not news that African-Americans have been discriminated against in access to medical care. Now, studies are showing that healthcare professionals aren’t color-blind when making notes about their patients. One study found that Black patients were two and a half times as likely as white patients to have at least one negative descriptive term – […]

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