Mailbag: Choose Covered California plan carefully

If you sign up for one of the public exchanges under Covered California, you will be given an array of choices for insurance. What you may not realize is that your favorite hospital and your current physicians or specialists are not part of that plan.

I recently heard from a good friend who has been on the Blue Cross Prudent Buyer plan, which he purchased as an individual for many years. He was recently sent a notice that his insurance would be dropped at the end of the year because it did not meet the Obamacare mandates for coverage. He went on to the insurance website to see what his options were.

Lo and behold, Blue Cross PPO was one of his options! He figured that because Hoag Hospital had been a provider for Blue Cross Prudent Buyer in years past, it would be the same for the public exchange option. However, neither Hoag nor I participate in that plan.

In fact, Hoag Hospital is only participating in one of the options on the public exchange — Health Net PPO. This plan is also the only plan on the public exchange in which I currently participate. As a specialist, I perform many treatments and procedures in the hospital. It would do me no good to participate in any plan that does not allow me to hospitalize my patients at Hoag.

The bottom line here is that you need to find out what hospitals and doctors participate in the plan you select. Choose carefully. If you end up going to Hoag Hospital with coverage from one of the other multiple public exchange insurance plans, your co-pay could be as high as 50% of your total bill!

Dr. Richard Haskell

Newport Beach

[Update, 9:45 a.m. Dec. 4: Since the Daily Pilot received this letter, Covered California has added Hoag Hospital to the Blue Cross PPO plan.]


A vision for Balboa Village Theatre

A group dedicated to preservation and the arts met at the Irvine Museum on Nov. 17.

Joan Irvine Smith's son, James Irvine Swinden, shared his encyclopedic knowledge of California plein air painters (1890-1930) with the Divas of the Balboa Village Theatre, a group dedicated to preservation of the historic Balboa Theatre.

Swinden opened the Divas' tour of California Impressionists by pointing out that golden hills and fields of poppies represented by plein air painters are now covered by cities. The Irvine Museum's twin goals are to showcase the rich record left by California artists and to remind visitors to participate in stewardship of remaining open land.

Divas understood Swinden's message well. They plan to return the Balboa Village Theatre to its roots, a venue for live performance. They've worked toward a 2015 opening gala. The Divas look forward to string quartets, live theater, vintage movie nights and key participation in the Newport Film Festival.

Divas left the museum energized to continue working toward Newport's own center for the performing arts. They envision an evening of dinner in the Balboa Village and a stroll to the theater for an inspiring night of fine music or a play. Divas expect audiences to leave the Balboa VillageTheatre as fulfilled by live performance as they were after their tour of the Irvine Museum's fine art.

Carrie Luger Slayback

Newport Beach

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