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Oscar Chaffee SIXTY PLUS

Some victories for Montana insurance consumers in the most recent session of the state legislature are claimed by the office of State Auditor John Morrison, while other measures did not survive the session. Victories claimed for insurance consumers and small businesses include a requirement that insurance companies now must pay or deny health-care claims within days of proof of loss, unless they make a reasonable request for additional information. In addition, health insurers are required to give at least 60 days advance notice to group policyholders and 45 days notice to policyholders of a change in rates, terms or benefits.

The letter also said Montana Comprehensive Health Association eligibility requirements were ex-panded to allow qualifying people to join when their premiums get too expensive in the traditional market.

The newsletter said the state legislature appropriated $1.36 million to continue the MCHA low-income subsidy program over the biennium.

Other "victories" include a requirement that insurance companies now are required to pay or deny health-care claims within 30 days of proof of loss, unless they make a reasonable request for more information.

The newsletter added that health insurers are required to give at least 60 days notice to group policyholders and 45 days notice to individuals of a change in rates, terms or benefits.

The MCHA eligibility requirements were expanded to allow qualifying people to join "this high-risk health insurance program when their premiums get too expensive in the traditional market."

It listed several requirements affecting insurance consumers and small businesses.

One is a requirement that insurance companies now must pay or deny health care claims within 30 days of proof of loss, unless they make a reasonable request for additional information.

Health insurers also are required to give at least 60 days advance notice to group policyholders and 45 days notice to individual policyholders of a change in rates, terms or benefits.

Oscar Chaffee is a retired Gazette state editor. He can be reached by writing to: Oscar Chaffee; Billings Gazette; P.O. Box 36300; Billings, MT 59107.

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