Blumenthal celebrating new consumer protection law

John O'Brien Jun. 14, 2007, 12:00pm


HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut recently decided to implement a new bill that is designed to protect consumers who have their health insurance abruptly cancelled.

Gov. Jodi Rell signed the law, An Act Concerning Postclaims Underwriting, into effect Tuesday. State leaders say the bill will help end unfair health insurance rescissions, cancellations or limitations of their individual policies.

"Our state has zero tolerance for insurers that abusively and arbitrarily rescind insurance policies and deny claims -- and now we have a fierce legal arsenal to fight these unconscionable practices," Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said.

The bill prohibits insurers from reviewing a policyholder's previous medical records in detail only after a medical condition arises and a claim and is submitted, referred to as post-claims underwriting. Insurers will now need the approval of the Insurance Department before they can rescind a policy.

Also, the law puts new requirements on short-term non-renewable individual policies that had been exempt from existing statutes, putting them in the same regulatory field with other types of policies.

"Insurers cannot abrogate their profound responsibility and abandon consumers suffering from catastrophic illness to save money," Blumenthal said. "We will hold insurers to their moral and legal obligations to consumers, and now we have stronger legal tools to do so."

Blumenthal and the state's Insurance Department and Office of the Healthcare Advocate claim their offices have received an increasing number of complaints in the last few years.

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