Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo announced his office has launched a first-of-its-kind, prosecutor-sponsored Web site that will collect information from consumers, doctors and hospitals in an effort to aid its investigation into the potentially unlawful, fraudulent and unfair activities health insurance companies engage in to maximize their profits. These activities may include denying or delaying authorization and payment of claims, and canceling coverage altogether after initially issuing a policy.

"Countless Angelenos who believe they have insurance actually have policies that aren't worth the paper they're printed on. At a patient's most vulnerable moment, the insurance company won't pay for care, or will cancel the policy altogether. Industry schemes to maximize profits at the expense of patients are unfair and unlawful, and must be stopped," said Delgadillo. "This new Web site will serve as an additional tool in our larger investigation into these schemes."

California State law authorizes the City Attorney's Office to bring both criminal and civil enforcement actions against businesses engaging in unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business acts or practices, and those engaging in deceptive or false advertising. The City Attorney is also empowered to bring suit against companies operating, headquartered, or doing business in, the City of Los Angeles, when the facts suggest they have broken the law.

Should the City Attorney's investigation into health insurance company practices yield facts warranting legal action, the City Attorney could seek injunctive relief, restitution for victims, and civil penalties.

For more information, consumers are asked to visit www.ProtectingTheInsured.org.