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Health Highlights: Finding doctors, buying insurance

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Looking for a new doctor now – or during Covered California’s open enrollment period this fall? Either way, there are a lot of factors to consider. Luckily, there are apps to help you find a doctor you like.

That right there was my mishmash of KPCC's top consumer health stories of the week. Read on to get the full scoop on these stories and more!

Looking for a doctor? Word-of-mouth, data both helpful

As I wrote this week, finding a high-quality primary care doctor that you like and is covered by your insurance is a challenge.

Getting a recommendation from a friend or colleague is a tried-and-true approach. And now, you can get a sort of second opinion on those recommendations, through companies like ZocDoc and BetterDoctor. They provide patients with more information about doctors, such as biographical information, patient reviews and performance data.

How do you go about finding a new doctor? We'd love to hear your tips!

Covered California: 2016 Health plan rates will increase an average of 4 percent

State officials announced this week that the cost of health insurance premiums offered through Covered California, the state's insurance marketplace, will climb an average of 4 percent in 2016, KPCC health care correspondent Stephanie O'Neill reports.

But the cost of premiums varies within the state's 19 insurance pricing regions, O'Neill points out. In the two regions that cover LA County, the percentage change in premium costs from this year to next ranges from a 13 percent drop in one Anthem plan to a 23 percent hike in one of Blue Shield's plans.

The actual rate an individual consumer will pay will vary, depending upon the age of the enrollee; the type of plan a person buys; the region in which it's purchased and whether the consumer qualifies for subsidies.

Orange County launches restaurant inspection app

Planning on checking out some new Orange County restaurants this weekend?

Before you pick up a menu, pick up your phone and check out the county's new restaurant inspection app. The app, called OC Food Inspections, lets you look up the inspection results of county restaurants and markets.

This information is already available online, but the app aims to put information about cleanliness and food safety in people's hands, county officials told me.

Reporter's notebook: To catch a coyote in the city

Here's your weekend bonus read: Have you ever wondered why there are so many coyotes in Los Angeles?

Ecologists actually understand little about how coyotes have been able to live successfully in the city's urban neighborhoods. But as KPCC environment reporter Jed Kim says, National Park Service scientists have launched a coyote monitoring program to learn how the animals exist in an environment utterly counter to their evolved habitat.

Kim followed an ecologist as he tracked the first monitored coyotes in downtown Los Angeles. Check out the reporter's notebook he kept during that time, plus some great photos.

Which consumer health stories are you reading this week? Let me know in the comments section below or ping me on Twitter.