State Healthcare Advocate Victoria Veltri announced Wednesday that her office generated $2.9 million in savings for Connecticut residents during the third quarter of 2011. The figure represents the cost of health care services that would have been paid by consumers without intervention from the agency, which helps state residents with managed care insurance issues.

The third-quarter figure brings the year-to-date savings to $9.3 million, nearly twice as much as the office generated in all of last year. The office’s caseload is on pace to more than double what it was last year.

Veltri said that the down economy has generated many calls for help with appeals or finding health insurance. In addition, state law now requires insurers to provide contact information for the office on denial notices, and federal law requires the same for self-insured plans, which are not subject to state law.

“While having OHA’s information easily available to consumers is something I’ve always equated to the adage, ‘[i]f you build it, they will come,’ and they have, unfortunately we are not building a field of dreams. We’re actually in the business of erasing some of the most complex healthcare problems that our fellow residents are facing, and in the process, restoring the ability for some to receive the care they need.”  Veltri said in a statement. “As demand for our services keeps increasing, we are straining our resources to keep up. However, we know that this demand is only a fraction of the true need out there.”

She added that the office is working to reach additional consumers who might have been wrongfully denied insurance coverage for medical or mental health services.

To receive free assistance, consumers can call the office at 1-866-466-4446 or email General information is available at

Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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