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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is an IPA?

IPA stands for "Independent Practice Association". Independently practicing physicians (physicians with their own independent practices) join an IPA, and you as member of the IPA can see any of these doctors.

Why is it important that I select an IPA?

You and your family's healthcare is important from the first doctor visit onward, and you want to select a high-quality IPA that will best fit your needs and expectations. When you sign up for healthcare and don't select an IPA, your insurance carrier will randomly assign you to one. Torrance Health IPA (THIPA) prides itself on its unique personal touch. We are a medium-sized IPA with about 500 physicians of all specialties. Our physicians have trained at prestigious medical centers.

Here are a few reasons we encourage you to consider becoming a THIPA member:

  1. Self-Referral to specialists. This allows members to access many specialists without a referral and without prior authorization. You can make an appointment with these specialists directly and save time and money. No other physician network in the South Bay offers this program. (THIPA self-referral roster)
  2. Expansive selection of primary care physicians and specialists.
  3. A local Member Services team serving THIPA senior members personally. Dedicated team members offer one-on-one assistance with all of your medical questions or concerns.
  4. Conveniently located Urgent Care centers in Torrance and Manhattan Beach.
  5. Up to 40% discount on exercise and health classes offered by Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and special THIPA senior member discounted rate at South End Racquet & Health Club.
  6. Ambulatory Case Management, available when needed, to coordinate your (or a loved one's) complex care needs.
  7. Medication Review by a pharmacist, a monthly luncheon only for THIPA members.
  8. THIPA "Senior Living" newsletter, providing information on benefits and services available to THIPA Members, as well as general health and medical information important to members.
  9. A member-based Senior Advisory Board, dedicated to improving senior health care and senior access to health care for THIPA Members and for the community.
  10. Serving only the South Bay and surrounding areas since 1983 - for 30 years. In other words, South Bay is our only service area.
  11. THIPA is a division of the non-profit and award-wining Torrance Memorial Medical Center.

What makes THIPA special?

THIPA has been serving the South Bay community since 1983, for 30 years. Our members have access to high-quality and personalized care from from over 350 primary care and specialist physicians. Here are some of the benefits of being a THIPA member:

  1. Self-Referral to specialists. This allows members to access many specialists without a referral and without prior authorization. You can make an appointment with these specialists directly and save time and money. No other physician network in the South Bay offers this program. (THIPA self-referral roster)
  2. Expansive selection of primary care physicians and specialists.
  3. A local Member Services team serving THIPA senior members personally. Dedicated team members offer one-on-one assistance with all of your medical questions or concerns.
  4. Conveniently located Urgent Care centers in Torrance and Manhattan Beach.
  5. Up to 40% discount on exercise and health classes offered by Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and special THIPA senior member discounted rate at South End Racquet & Health Club.
  6. Ambulatory Case Management, available when needed, to coordinate your (or a loved one's) complex care needs.
  7. Medication Review by a pharmacist, a monthly luncheon only for THIPA members.
  8. THIPA "Senior Living" newsletter, providing information on benefits and services available to THIPA Members, as well as general health and medical information important to members.
  9. A member-based Senior Advisory Board, dedicated to improving senior health care and senior access to health care for THIPA Members and for the community.
  10. Serving only the South Bay and surrounding areas since 1983 - for 30 years. In other words, South Bay is our only service area.
  11. THIPA is a division of the non-profit and award-wining Torrance Memorial Medical Center.

How many physicians can I choose from?

Which hospitals does THIPA use?

If you need to go to the hospital, you will be cared for at the award-winning Torrance Memorial Medical Center.

What about quality improvement?

Torrance Health IPA leadership continuously monitors the healthcare providers' quality of care. We set ambitious goals every quarter, with the goal of constant improvement in the care we provide our members.

Our members should expect a prompt and courteous appointment process, a respectful, informative physician who is up to date and communicates openly with their patients and caregivers, as well as receive timely test results and patient callbacks.

Torrance Health IPA's doctors are measured on all of these criteria: patient access to the doctor, patient satisfaction and physician clinical skill. It is our goal is to help our physicians practice excellent medicine.

Please click here to learn more about THIPA’s P.A.R. program.

Do I need to inform my physician if I change insurance?

Yes. Always inform your physician's office when you change insurance. Your insurance coverage may vary with a new policy and your physician needs to know this.

Do I need to inform my physician when I change medical groups?

Yes. Your physician may have contracts with several provider groups. Each provider group has different policies regarding referrals and has a different panel of specialists. To make sure that you are referred to the right specialists, let your physician know if you change medical groups.

Should I always show my insurance card when I visit my physician?

Yes. It is best to always present your most current insurance information at each visit.

What if I lose my insurance card?

If you lose your insurance card, call your health plan member services department and they will send you a new card.

WIll my newborn baby be covered under my insurance?

Yes. Your newborn baby will be covered under your insurance for the first 30 days following birth. During that time, you must enroll your newborn as an individual so there will be no lapse in coverage.

What if I have more than one insurance policy?

Let your physician know. There are different policies regarding different insurance that you and your physician need to follow. You will not be able to coordinate benefits between your insurance policies unless your physician knows you have this option.

Can family members each select their own primary care physician?

Yes. Each family member can select a different primary care physician. For example, a woman may select a family practitioner, her husband an internist, and their children a pediatrician.

Can I change my primary care physician?

Yes. You may change your primary care physician by contacting your health plan. Call the health plan member services telephone number on your insurance card.

If you do plan to change your Primary Care Physician, please be sure they are a THIPA Physician.

If you need help choosing a THIPA doctor, please call our THIPA Member Services team at 866-568-4472.

Print-friendly THIPA Provider Directory

How do I get a referral to a specialist?

Our referral process is unique, fast and easy. If the specialty you need is on the self-referral list (Self-Referral Roster), you can make the appointment yourself. If the specialty is not on the self-referral list, your primary care physician (PCP) will help you obtain one.

May I change my PCP and still have the Self-Referral benefit?

Yes. You may change primary care doctors and still have this benefit. However, you must be a member of THIPA in order to receive the THIPA Self-Referral Benefit. Regardless of what insurance you have, as long as you are a member of THIPA, you can benefit from the THIPA Self-Referral Benefit.

If you need help choosing a THIPA doctor, please call ourTHIPA Member Services team at 866-568-4472.

Where do I go in an emergency?

If you have a true life-threatening medical emergency, you should call 911 or go to the nearest hospital or emergency room immediately. If the situation is serious but not life-threatening, the emergency room at Torrance Memorial Medical Center is your best resource.

THIPA recommends Members use Torrance Memorial Medical Center Emergency Room when possible. The physicians there have access to many of your health records and can provide you with the best care available. Whenever possible, this is the emergency room (ER) you should use. Important note: Please be aware that if you need care after hours, and it is not an emergency, your insurance may not cover the costs of a visit to any other emergency facility other than Torrance Memorial Medical Center.

How to assess if it's a true emergency? Ask these questions:

  • Are you having difficulty breathing, pain to the point of crying or a sudden inability to move or talk? If so, call 911 or go to the Emergency Room.
  • Is your life or body/organ function in danger? If yes, go to the Emergency Room right away or call 911. If not, going to the ER might not be the best decision. You will get excellent care in an Urgent Care or your doctor's office, you will not wait as long, and your copay will be lower. Studies have shown that care for non-emergency conditions is superior at your doctor's office than at an Urgent Care or Emergency Room.
  • Is your symptom related to an illness you have? If so, seeing your doctor might be the best choice: since she knows you best, she will be able to give you the best treatment.
  • Is it one of these conditions: twisted ankle, a superficial cut to the arm, pain on urination or moderate belly pain? If so, Urgent Care might be the most convenient and cost-effective way for you to get great treatment.

What if I have a minor health problem after regular business hours?

Always call your primary care physician (PCP) first. There will be a message giving you an after-hours number and/or instructions to follow. If you are unable to reach your physician, please visit one of our preferred Torrance Memorial Urgent Care Centers in Torrance or Manhattan Beach.

How do I know whether to go to the Emergency Room, Urgent Care or my doctor's office?

Always try to call your doctor first. If it after hours, you can call your health plan clinical help line:

Aetna: (877) 402- 8742 or (800) 624-0756

Anthem Blue Cross: (800) 249-3617

Blue Shield: 24/7 Nurse Help Line (877) 304-0504.

Care 1st: (800) 544-0088 (press 4 if you are a member and would like to speak to a Nurse to get health advice)

Cigna/Great West: (800) 564-9286

Health Net (Commercial - Decision Power): (800) 893-5597

Health Net (Senior): (800) 275-4737 (press 6)

Humana: (800) 457-4708

United Healthcare: (877) 365-7949

What is Medicare Open Enrollment?

This period, formerly known as Open Enrollment, is the time when you can join, change or drop a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan for the upcoming calendar year.

Should I keep my current plan or choose a new on during Medicare Open Enrollment

Choosing the right Medicare Plan should be based on your individual medical needs and personal preferences. Here are some important things to compare:

Expenses: How much are your premiums, deductibles or co-pays for doctor visits? What about hospital stays?

Your Treatments: What are your routine medical treatments? Are they covered?

Your Doctors and Hospital: Can you see your current Torrance Memorial Medical Center doctors and specialists, as well as use hospital services under your new plan?

Prescription Drug Costs: Does the plan cover prescription drugs? What will your prescription drugs cost under the plan?

“Maximum Out-of-Pocket” Limit: All HMO’s must include a yearly “Maximum Out-of-Pocket” limit or MOOP. This is the maximum amount that you would pay for medical costs in the calendar year. What is yours?

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Torrance CA 90505
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