New Medicare ID Cards Prompt Fear of Fraud

A federal effort to clamp down on Medicare fraud has inadvertently opened up new possibilities for fraudsters who prey on the elderly, prompting a California-wide education campaign. While federal officials hope the change will make it harder for criminals to steal Social Security numbers and benefit fraudulently from the Medicare system, criminals are apparently seizing on news about the change to take advantage of unsuspecting seniors.

Health Plans for Over 2 Million Californians Don’t Follow Consumer Protection Law

Every morning, Tracey Watts checked her body for blood. The recent PhD has a rare condition that causes her to have leaky blood vessels. She bled out of pinprick-size spots on her lower body and legs for eight months as she searched for a specialist who accepted her insurance. Watts is one of millions of Californians enrolled in health plans exempted from a law that requires insurers to provide patients with timely access to doctors.

Proposed Ban on Flavored Tobacco in San Francisco Expected on Ballot Next Summer

A new regulation that had been signed into law called for a ban, effective April 2018, on sales of flavored tobacco including menthol cigarettes, flavored liquid for e-cigarettes and flavored chewing tobacco. While a tobacco giant-backed group gathered enough signatures to require the ban be voted on during an upcoming election, they aren’t the only ones opposed to the ban. Lobbying is expected to be equally fierce among people opposed to the ban which includes owners of more than 900 corner stores in San Francisco.

LGBTQ Teens Face Increased Stress and Anxiety Under Trump

Since the presidential election in November, LGBTQ teens in a Concord-based group have voiced their anger and concerns about the Trump administration, and their fears that the president reverse progress on LGBTQ rights. The rise in stress among LGBTQ teens isn’t limited to the Bay Area. The Trevor Project, a nationwide crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youths, reports that call volume to its hotline doubled the day after the presidential election and has continued to increase.

California Considers Requiring Middle and High School to Start Later, In Effort to Give Teens More Sleep

Many California teens who come from low-income and immigrant families have a difficult time getting a full night’s rest because of their obligations outside school. A new bill headed to the California Assembly could allow these students and more than 2.7 million others statewide to get more rest every night by requiring all public middle and high schools in California to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

Pesticide Continues to Put Farmworkers and Fetuses in Harm’s Way

Maria Castro has worked in Kern County’s fields for 14 years, since her family moved to Delano from Mexico when she was 16 years old. She started working as a grape harvester two days after her arrival in the United States. She soon noticed a weird scent on her clothes that wouldn’t come off, even after washing.

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