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Health insurers boost customer service as era of competition approaches

Los Angeles Times, June 24, 2010

More insurance carriers are ramping up their services as they prepare to compete for millions of new customers starting in 2014, as a result of the new healthcare-reform law. That's when health insurers will be barred from refusing coverage to people with preexisting conditions or charging them exorbitant rates, and the first time individuals will have to carry health insurance or face a financial penalty. Such changes are driving some health insurers to try to meet people where they are both physically, with retail stores and enhanced phone-based customer service, and virtually, by tracking negative comments online and intervening to help improve people's experiences with their health plans.