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Consumer Insurance Services Answers Questions About Coverage

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | 06:42am
NASHVILLE- Many Tennesseans find themselves at the time of year when they’re adding holiday wish lists and health insurance plans to their budgetary considerations. And, with the ongoing economic downturn coloring those decisions, the Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) is reminding consumers of a free insurance resource.
 
“The Department’s Consumer Insurance Services section of the Insurance division exists to educate consumers and mediate insurance-related disputes,” says TDCI Commissioner
Julie Mix McPeak. “CIS’s programs cover a vast array of insurance-related issues, disaster assistance and referrals to special programs.
 
“Tennesseans have already paid for these services – so, they don’t have to pay anything else,” she says. “Consultants and businesses charge consumers up to hundreds of dollars to explain competing plans’ coverage options – but all that separates Tennesseans from having a free consultation with the State is making a phone call or sending an email.”
 
“A Tennessee insurance consumer can call us up, and we’ll help them understand the terms of the plans they’re considering – so they can make an informed decision about their coverage,” says CIS Director Vickie Trice. “We don’t have a stake in which plans get picked – other than helping ensure that Tennesseans sign up with licensed insurance carriers.” Contact CIS at 800-342-4029 or CIS.complaints@tn.gov.
 
The Department cautions Tennesseans from signing up with unlicensed insurance companies – particularly those who advertise through blast faxes and e-mails or signs posted at street corners. Such companies work under the radar of insurance regulation, collect high premiums from often-desperate individuals and deny claims after expensive treatment or procedures.
 
Some even deny an obligation to pay their “members.” Check with CIS or visit https://sbs-tn.naic.org/Lion-Web/jsp/sbsreports/CompanySearchLookup.jsp to see if a company or agent is licensed to sell insurance.
 
The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/

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