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State Offers New Way To Dispute Health Insurance Decisions

— Californians have a new place to lodge complaints about their health insurance. State regulators have launched a website where consumers can file their grievances.

The California Department of Managed Health Care operates the new website. The agency regulates HMOs.

Previously, consumers had to file complaints to state regulators via fax or regular mail.

The website allows people to fill out a simple form in English, Spanish, or 11 other languages. Consumers can file a grievance about denials of care and ask for an independent medical review.

The agency says it receives about 4,000 complaints and oversees nearly 1,700 independent medical reviews every year. It's expecting those numbers to rise when health reform expands coverage to millions of more people in 2014.

Agency officials say the website provides a faster and easier way to complain about health plans.

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