July 27, 2010                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton

Montana Insurance Commissioner Lindeen applies for grant to secure more funding to help insurance consumers


      Helena, MT – Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen is applying for federal funding to strengthen consumer assistance as a part of the federal health reform law. The funds will enhance services provided by CSI to help consumers enroll in the health plan that fits their needs, educate consumers about different plans and their rights as consumers, and track complaints and appeals.
      
      “My office already dedicates staff and resources to help Montana consumers with health insurance issues. While we do an exceptional job with the resources available, I expect consumers will have more questions about their policies as the new reforms go into effect in October,” said Lindeen.
      
      The new provisions under federal reform that go into effect include:
      • prohibiting an insurance companies from being able to rescind a policy that an insured paid for after the insured makes a claim,
      • extending coverage to adult dependents on their parents’ plan until age 26,
      • eliminating health plans from imposing lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits,
      • restricting health plans’ use of annual dollar limits, and,
      • prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to children under the age of 19 due to a pre-existing condition.
      
      The new consumer assistance grants will provide nearly $30 million to states and territories to help expand and improve their consumer assistance efforts as these new provisions are implemented.
      
      “Receiving this grant will help us continue to educate Montanans and offer support and assistance with complaints about coverage. I encourage anyone to call our office with questions or concerns about a health care plan or the new reforms,” said Lindeen.
      
      Lindeen’s office will submit their application by September 10, 2010. The award ceiling for any state or territory is $3.4 million, with the floor being $120,000. Fifty-six awards are expected to be given.
      
      For questions about this grant or any health insurance issues, consumers may call the Office of the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance at 1-800-332-6148