Dealing with insurance companies is never easy but a New Jersey lawmaker is trying to make it a little more palatable.

State Sen. Jon Bramnick, R-Union, is sponsoring measure S3689, which calls for the creation of a New Jersey Consumer Insurance Advocate.

He said having this kind of advocate would help a lot of people in the Garden State.

A nightmare for patients and doctors

"Have you ever had to deal with your health insurance company? Between the deductibles, the co-pays, the pre-approvals, it’s a nightmare for patients and it’s a nightmare for doctors," Bramnick said.

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Branick compared his proposal to the ratepayer advocate who deals with the utility companies.

"We need somebody down in Trenton who’s going to be the advocate for the patient, not the insurance companies. This is an absolutely vital position in New Jersey," he said.

A system that is broken

Bramnick said patients aren’t the only ones that struggle with insurance companies.

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“Doctors are on the phone for hours trying to get a pre-approval, you don’t know what they’re going to pay, you don’t know when they’re going to pay it, the system is a mess.”

How would this work?

He said people would report problems they encounter to the advocate. The advocate would recommend legislation and regulation.

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He pointed out doctors continue to leave New Jersey because of insurance company payment problems and patients are never sure what will and will not be covered.

He said watching and dealing with insurance companies requires a dedicated watchdog to protect the interest of Jersey residents

The bill creates an Office of the New Jersey Consumer Insurance Advocate in the Division of Insurance in the Department of Banking and Insurance.

According to the legislation, the position of advocate would be filled through an appointment by the governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, for a term of four years during the governor's term of office.

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