(CNSNews.com) – President Obama’s Health and Human Services Department on Tuesday announced nearly $30 million in grants to “help consumers see the benefits” of the Democrats’ new health care law.
Those “benefits” include helping consumers file appeals and grievances against their existing health insurance plans.
HHS says the $30 million will go to state consumer assistance programs that help Americans who have questions or concerns about their health insurance.
Specifically, the grants will help consumers:
-- enroll in health coverage;
-- file complaints and appeals against their health plans (see examples below);
-- educate consumers about their rights and empower them to take action; and
-- track consumer complaints to help identify problems and strengthen enforcement.
Claims and grievances
According to HHS’ HealthCare.gov Web site, the consumer services division of the Arkansas Insurance Department is getting $296,659 to help consumers in various ways, including the option to "[p]repare and file claims, grievances, or appeals” against their existing insurance plans.
The Texas Department of Insurance is getting almost $2.8 million to reach out to uninsured residents "using multi-lingual materials." It also will "provide individual assistance with the filing of complaints, appeals, and grievances."
Altogether, 35 states, four territories and the
“The Affordable Care Act’s Patient’s Bill of Rights gives people important benefits and ends the worst insurance company abuses,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in an Oct. 19 news release. “These grants will help ensure consumers’ rights are protected, and they are another way the new law is putting patients, not insurance companies, in charge of their health care.”
HHS said the $30-million in Consumer Assistance Grants have the potential to benefit millions of Americans: “These grants will fund programs that will support consumers, both now as we transition to a more competitive, patient-centered health insurance marketplace in 2014 and once that new marketplace is established.”