Regulators recover $13.6 million from insurance companies

Aug 7th, 2009 | By Hot News Reporter | Category: Insurance Today

(BuffaloNews) – State insurance regulators recovered $13.6 million from insurance companies between April 1 and June 30 for almost 3,000 consumers and health care providers who complained to the state Insurance Department.

That’s up 60 percent from $8.5 million recovered in the first quarter, for a total of $22 million for the first six months.
The department also worked to help 247 consumers get insurance policies reinstated during the first six months of the year after the insurers canceled those policies.

There was no dollar amount tied to those reinstatements, but consumers were also offered coverage for any claims that occurred while their policies lapsed, and those who paid a fine to the Department of Motor Vehicles for lapsed auto coverage were refunded their fines.

“If you have a problem with an insurance company, let us know,” said Acting Insurance Superintendent Kermitt J. Brooks. “In these difficult times, every New Yorker should know they have some place to turn for insurance help.”

Recently enacted legislation prohibits health insurers from treating an in-network provider as out-of-network just because the referring doctor was out of network; extends protections for consumers in HMOs to plans that operate in a similar manner but aren’t licensed as HMOs; and reduced the time for health insurers to pay claims from 45 days to 30 days if the claim is submitted electronically.

The state Insurance Department handles about 60,000 complaints and 200,000 calls to its hotline annually. Consumers with complaints or questions can call the hotline at (800) 342-3736 from 9 a. m. to 4:30 p. m., Monday through Friday, or go to its Web site at


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