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Got A Health Insurance Question? New State Hotline Has Answers

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People fighting with their health insurance company over benefits, or without coverage and confused about where to turn have a new resource in North Carolina. The Department of Insurance has launched a toll free number to help people with any and all questions related to health insurance. "Whether somebody's covered by private insurance or a group health plan or the state or a federal high risk poll or any other kind of health insurance they now have a one-stop shop to work with us to find out answers to their questions," says North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. A $1.2 million grant through the federal Affordable Care Act made the new customer service line possible. Health insurance experts are available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at 877-885-0231 for any question a customer might have: Am I paying too much? Do I qualify for Medicaid? Is my insurance company ripping me off? Goodwin says a call to the Smart NC program can also get a ruling from your insurance company overturned. "Say if you have a procedure and your carrier denies payment for it, we will then help you set up an external review where our experts review what the procedure was and what the policy was," explains Goodwin. "If the Department of Insurance says the company should pay for it we reverse what the company denied. And that helps consumers." Goodwin says the Smart NC is part of the insurance commissioner's responsibility to protect consumers. It's already helped several hundred people since quietly launching in the spring. Today is the hotline's official kick-off.