Groups Launch Campaign to Educate Consumers about Managed Care Guide
Representatives from state agencies, consumer advocates and patients yesterday held a news conference aimed at raising consumers' awareness of the availability of a new, comprehensive 79-page guide that explains the state's complex managed care laws, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Created by the Department of Managed Health Care, along with the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights and the California Wellness Foundation, the guide outlines consumers' rights under new managed care legislation that took effect Jan. 1, including provisions that allow consumers to request an independent review when a managed care company denies treatment and to sue managed care companies. Jamie Court, executive director of the consumer rights foundation, said that the new guide will help educate consumers and will serve as a "big stick that consumers can wave" at managed care companies. Bobby Pena, vice president of communications for the California Association of Health Plans, said, "I applaud any efforts to educate consumers. What I'm a little concerned about is (that the document) does have a buyer-beware tone to it. Contrary to what the document suggests, health plans aren't out to get consumers." Copies of the guide can be obtained by calling the DMHC (1-888-HMO-2219) or the Department of Consumer Affairs (1-800-952-5210). The guide is also available online at www.calpatientguide.org (Fong, San Diego-Union Tribune, 5/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.