Report: Restitution and savings for NY health care consumers reach over $1.5M

June 6, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
Attorney General Letitia James
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Attorney General Letitia James released a report on Tuesday which shines a spotlight on the instrumental work of her Office’s Health Care Bureau’s Helpline. The free service handled an impressive total of over 2,300 consumer complaints in 2022, and in doing so, recovered over $1.5 million in restitution and savings for New Yorkers.

Ensuring New Yorkers have access to necessary medical care and prescription medication, the Helpline is a pivotal tool in advocating for healthcare rights across the state.

“Access to health care is a fundamental right for every New Yorker,” said James. “Through the critical work of our Helpline, we saved New Yorkers more than $1.5 million dollars last year, while helping to ensure people have access to the medical care they need. Anyone who believes they were wrongfully billed or denied health benefits are encouraged to contact my office for support.”

The Bureau’s 2022 Annual Report, titled “Real Solutions for Real New Yorkers,” provides a comprehensive overview of the assistance it has rendered to New Yorkers over the past year. Not only does it highlight the steps taken by Helpline advocates to resolve consumer complaints, but it also delves into major cases that the bureau handled and sheds light on health care concerns that New Yorkers currently face, particularly those related to COVID-19.

Among the cases handled by the Helpline staff were patients unfairly billed for COVID-19 office visits, a newborn denied necessary specialized care by a health plan, and a consumer who was billed nearly double the initial estimate for in-network hospital services. In each instance, intervention by the OAG brought resolution and relief for the consumers.

The Helpline serves not only as a means to resolve individual consumer complaints but also to identify systemic issues within the state’s health care system. It is a crucial source of reliable and objective information for New Yorkers.

Recently, James issued a consumer alert about a new health insurance renewal scam, warned of potential price gouging of children’s medication, and ensured the completion of $13.6 million in payments to consumers who were unlawfully denied coverage by UnitedHealthCare.

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