By now you have so much great information. One remaining question might
be: How do I keep the doctors I’ve come to know at Torrance Memorial
Medical Center? There are many options for doing that, of course, and
one of the best might be to become a member of the nonprofit Torrance
Health Independent Physician Association, or THIPA.
THIPA is a multi-specialty physician network (also known as a medical group)
and a division of Torrance Memorial Health System. THIPA contracts with
eight insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage HMO plans: Blue
Shield of California, Anthem Blue Cross, Humana, Aetna, Care1st, AARP
Medicare Complete (insured through UnitedHealthCare), SCAN and Health Net.
THIPA has been serving the South Bay community for more than 30 years.
Members have access to high-quality and personalized care from more than
500 primary care and specialist physicians as well as the nationally recognized
Torrance Memorial Medical Center.
“THIPA is not your insurance company,” explains Norman Panitch,
MD, chairman of THIPA Physician Council. Panitch was one of the founders
of THIPA in the early 1980s. “THIPA provides the medical care covered
by your health plan.”
He adds, “We pride ourselves in providing effective, high-value,
patient-centered care. In 2017 we achieved the 5-Stars Elite Status from
the America's Physician Groups (APG) Standards of Excellence™
(SOE®). APG is the leading association in the country representing
physician organizations practicing coordinated care. In 2016 THIPA was
awarded a four-star rating for the care we offer to our Medicare Advantage
members. And once again in 2018, THIPA was voted South Bay’s Best
Medical Group” by
The Daily Breeze readers.
THIPA is the only physician network in the South Bay offering direct access—also
known as “member self-referral”—to seven select specialties
including podiatry, OB/GYN, dermatology, ophthalmology and more. This
is unique since you would typically need a referral from your primary
care physician to see a specialist.
See our full physician directory at
thipa.org/physiciandirectory or check with your PCP for a recommendation if you need to see a specialist.
THIPA also offers a menu of perks, such as discounted gym memberships,
discounts at Torrance Memorial classes and vision care. The other upside?
There’s no extra cost for THIPA. Members pay their co-pays and the
cost of their Medicare, and that’s it. To find a great doctor near
you call 310-257-7239 or visit
Your FAQs Answered
What if I am applying for Medicare for the first time and I have a pre-existing
When you enroll in a Medicare health plan for the first time, there is
guaranteed acceptance—which means there will be only one question
asked about your health: if you have end-stage renal disease. This condition
requires one to join a Special Needs plan. Otherwise no health questions
are asked and no underwriting is required. And the plan will not require
an authorization for you to release your medical history.
I travel a lot and have heard horror stories about Medicare Advantage plans
not covering me in, say, New York City. Is this true?
Most Medicare Advantage HMO plans offer worldwide coverage in an emergency.
This means you can go to any emergency room or urgent care within the
U.S. and out of the country—not for routine care but for an emergency.
With most plans there will be a co-pay for the ER or urgent care. Additionally,
most plans will have a yearly cap for an emergency outside the U.S. When
traveling outside the States, you might want to consider travelers’
insurance, which you can buy through AAA. But always check with your health
plan’s member services or your insurance agent.
3 Steps To Join THIPA
1. Enroll in one of the eight Medicare Advantage HMO insurance plans contracted by THIPA.
2. Select a primary care physician (PCP) from the THIPA network. See a
complete directory at thipa.org/physiciandirectory. If you already see
a primary care doctor at Torrance Memorial, there’s a good chance
they are in the THIPA network.
3. Choose THIPA as your medical group or physician network.
For more information about THIPA please call 310-257-7239 or go to thipa.org;
members call 866-568-4472.