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New York State's Department of Insurance has activated a toll-free hot line for physicians and other providers to call when they do not get prompt settlement of claims from HMOs and other third-party payers.
Republican Gov. George Pataki signed legislation last September that requires HMOs and insurers to pay claims and bills within 45 days of receipt or face fines of up to $500 per day for each unpaid claim. The deadline does not apply in cases where fraud is suspected or to the disputed portion of claims when the obligation to pay is not clear. The hot line number is (800) 358-9260.