April 1, 2010                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton

Lindeen returns from national conference ready to tackle health insurance reform


      Helena- Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen returned to Helena after meeting with state insurance commissioners from all 50 states to discuss the new federal health insurance reform legislation.
      
      The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) held its spring meeting in Denver last week following the passage of the new federal law. Commissioner Lindeen was appointed last year to sit on NAIC's health insurance committee. The committee is charged to respond to inquiries from Congress, the White House and federal agencies, to analyze policy implications on states of proposed legislation and to communicate NAIC's position. The committee's work is vital considering state insurance regulators and the NAIC will be directly responsible for implementing provisions of the new law in the coming months.
      
      "Now that Congress has passed a federal bill, it's up to me and the other state commissioners to make it a success," says Lindeen.
      
      The federal bill, passed on March 23, 2010, will reduce the number of uninsured Montanans; provide better and more reliable coverage to those with insurance; help families pay for coverage; and save hospitals and doctors in uncompensated care. Consumers will start to see many of the changes to the insurance industry in the next six months.
      
      Throughout the health insurance reform debate, the NAIC and state commissioners have held the importance of four key principles: address health care spending, protect the rights of consumers, avoid adverse selection and preserve a strong state role.
      
      As the federal bill gets implemented in Montana, Lindeen is committed to upholding these principles. "Montana families and businesses have been struggling with the cost of health insurance and want to know how this will impact them. CSI will be working with everyone involved to inform consumers as we put the reforms in place."
      
      Lindeen also warns consumers about fake health insurance plans that are starting to be offered. Anyone looking to purchase insurance should first call CSI to verify whether an insurance product is real and if the company is licensed to do business in Montana.
      
      For all consumer questions, call Montana's Commissioner of Securities and Insurance consumer hotline at 1-800-332-6148.