New regulations under the federal health-care overhaul now guarantee consumers the right to appeal denials of health insurance claims.  Denials can be appealed to the insurer and, if necessary, to an independent external review board.  Decisions by the external review board will be binding for the health plan.  Previously, the appeals process varied by state and insurer, and only certain states honored the external review.  The new rules apply to any new plan created after March 23, 2010 and are expected to affect more than 40 million Americans.

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