Attorney General Announces Grant Awarded to Expand Health Education and Advocacy
MD ( October 20, 2010) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced that the Health Education and Advocacy Unit (HEAU) in his Consumer Protection Division has received a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services that will allow the Unit to expand the services it presently provides to Maryland consumers.
The HEAU assists consumers in filing appeals and grievances when their insurance carriers deny coverage for health care services and mediates complaints involving medical billing or problems with health-related products, such as hearing aids or wheel chairs. Under the federal Affordable Care Act, the number of consumers who will be able to file appeals and grievances with their insurance carriers will greatly increase, and the grant will allow the HEAU to assist those consumers. Additionally, the grant will allow the HEAU to assist consumers who are looking for health insurance policies.
“In 2009, the HEAU assisted more than 2,100 consumers and helped to obtain more than $1.4 million in claims payments,” said Attorney General Gansler. “I'm pleased that my office will have the opportunity to expand the important services it provides to health care consumers in Maryland.”
The grant will allow HEAU to hire additional personnel to assist consumers with claims involving Medicaid and ERISA plans, which are currently not required to provide consumers with appeals and grievance procedures. Additionally, the grant will allow the HEAU to hire an outreach coordinator who can educate consumers and providers about what the Unit can do for them and provide information about obtaining health insurance.
For more information about the Health Education and Advocacy Unit or to file a complaint, please visit the Attorney General's website at www.oag.state.md.us/consumer/HEAU.htm or call 410-528-1840 in the Baltimore area or toll-free elsewhere in Maryland at 877-261-8807.