DCBS Media Release
September 10, 1998
Health insurance complaints up slightly
SALEM – The Oregon Insurance Division projects it will help more than 1,000 Oregonians with their health insurance complaints during 1998. That's up slightly from last year, according to Deputy Insurance Commissioner Nancy Ellison.
The Insurance Division resolved 538 consumer complaints involving health insurance in the first six months of this year. Last year, the division assisted a total of 862 consumers.
Ellison emphasized that while most health care insurers doing business in Oregon operate in a reputable fashion, the Insurance Division handles many cases every year in which there are improper or questionable claim denials or slow payments. While unable to force insurers to provide coverage that they are not legally obligated to provide, the Insurance Division is able to intervene in many cases.
"Sometimes, it's as simple as helping a consumer understand his or her rights under an insurance policy or under Oregon law," Ellison explained. "In other cases, a consumer finds that he or she is caught up in an internal glitch at a company that can be ironed out. And in still other cases, there are insurers who seek to shortchange consumers by failing to live up to their coverage promises or to comply with state requirements. For consumers in these situations, the Insurance Division can mean the difference between no coverage and getting the help they legitimately deserve and have paid for."
Ellison stressed that the Insurance Division provides a wide range of assistance, from answering insurance questions to serving as an advocate for consumers in dealings with insurance companies. Consumers with health insurance questions or complaints can contact the Insurance Division's Consumer Assistance Unit by calling (503) 947-7984, or by e-mail at email@example.com.