2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 26 - HEALTH AND VITAL STATISTICS
Section 26:2S-21 - Managed Health Care Consumer Assistance Program.
26:2S-21 Managed Health Care Consumer Assistance Program.
3. a. There is established the Managed Health Care Consumer Assistance Program in the Department of Banking and Insurance. The commissioner shall make agreements to operate the program as necessary, in consultation with the Commissioner of Human Services, to assure that citizens have reasonable access to services in all regions of the State.
b.The program shall:
(1)create and provide educational materials and training to consumers regarding their rights and responsibilities as enrollees in managed care plans, including materials and training specific to Medicaid, NJ FamilyCare, Medicare, and commercial managed care plans;
(2)assist and educate individual enrollees about the functions of the State and federal agencies that regulate managed care products, assist and educate enrollees about the various complaint, grievance, and appeal processes, including State fair hearings, provide assistance to individuals in determining which process is most appropriate for the individual to pursue when necessary, maintain and provide to individual enrollees the forms that may be necessary to submit a complaint, grievance or appeal with the State or federal agencies, and provide assistance to individual enrollees in completion of the forms, if necessary;
(3)maintain and provide information to individuals upon request about advocacy groups, including legal services programs Statewide and in each county that may be available to assist individuals, and maintain lists of State and Congressional representatives and the means by which to contact representatives, for distribution upon request;
(4)maintain a toll-free telephone number for consumers to call for information and assistance. The number shall be accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing, and staff or translation services shall be available to assist non-English proficient individuals who are members of language groups that meet population thresholds established by the department;
(5)ensure that individuals have timely access to the services of, and receive timely responses from, the program;
(6)provide feedback to managed care plans, beneficiary advisory groups and employers regarding enrollees' concerns and problems;
(7)provide nonpartisan information about federal and State activities relative to managed care, and provide assistance to individuals in obtaining copies of pending legislation, statutes, and regulations; and
(8)develop and maintain a data base monitoring the degree of each type of service provided by the program to individual enrollees, the types of concerns and complaints brought to the program and the entities about which complaints and concerns are brought.
c.In order to meet its objectives, the program shall have access to:
(1)the medical and other records of an individual enrollee maintained by a managed care plan, upon the specific written authorization of the enrollee or his legal representative;
(2)the administrative records, policies, and documents of managed care plans to which individuals or the general public have access; and
(3)all licensing, certification, and data reporting records maintained by the State or reported to the federal government by the State that are not proprietary information or otherwise protected by law, with copies thereof to be supplied to the program by the State upon the request of the program.
d.The program shall take such actions as are necessary to protect the identity and confidentiality of any complainant or other individual with respect to whom the program maintains files or records. Any medical or personally identifying information received or in the possession of the program shall be considered confidential and shall be used only by the department, the program and such other agencies as the commissioner designates and shall not be subject to public access, inspection or copying under P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) or the common law concerning access to public records. This subsection shall not be construed to limit the ability of the program to compile and report non-identifying data pursuant to paragraph (8) of subsection b. of this section.
e.The program shall seek to coordinate its activities with consumer advocacy organizations, legal assistance providers serving low-income and other vulnerable health care consumers, managed care and health insurance counseling assistance programs, and relevant federal and State agencies to assure that the information and assistance provided by the program are current and accurate.
f.Until such time as the program is developed, the commissioner shall make agreements with two independent, private nonprofit consumer advocacy organizations, which shall be the Community Health Law Project and New Jersey Protection and Advocacy, Inc. to operate the program on an interim basis. The interim program shall be in effect for one year from the effective date of this act. Any appropriation in this act for the program may be allocated for the interim program.
L.2001, c.14, s.3; amended 2012, c.17, s.303.
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