DOI launches consumer assistance program

Posted August 9, 2011 4:32 p.m. EDT

 Ashley Bowman, a Forsyth county resident is looking for a new kidney after numerous life setbacks. Bowman is on the transplant list and in full-time dialysis. Despite what she's facing, she was determined to fulfill her dream.

— The state Department of Insurance on Tuesday launched a program to help North Carolinians better understand their options and rights related to health insurance.

Through Health Insurance Smart NC, consumers can file complaints or appeals with health insurance companies, identify enrollment opportunities for health coverage, understand their rights and responsibilities regarding coverage and request an external review if a claim is denied.

“There is a great need for a source of accurate, up-to-date and unbiased information about health insurance for the public,” Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said in a statement. “I want people to know they can turn to Smart NC for assistance as they make important decisions about health insurance.”

Services are provided free of charge to people covered by private insurance, group health plans, state and federal high-risk pools or any other kind of public health coverage, Goodwin said.

People can access the program, which is funded by a federal grant under the national health care reform effort and existing DOI resources, by calling 877-885-0231 or visiting the DOI website.