Records: Parts of health exchange not finished by launch


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Records: Parts of health exchange not finished by launch

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Feb 10, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- After weeks of complaints and problems, documents show parts of the state's health insurance exchange website were not finished before the October launch.

For weeks, people have turned to Action News after running into roadblocks with Nevada Health Link.

Contract documents from the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange show deadlines for contractor Xerox to complete the system were pushed back in November, 2013, and while the overall system was originally supposed to be completed by July 1, 2013, some parts were not finished when the website went live.

"The remaining functionality was not required until late December or early January, of 2014, so anything that was not complete did not hamper the use of the system up until that point," health link spokesman CJ Bawden said in a telephone interview with Action News.

Instead, the deadline for finishing the overall system was changed to April 30, 2014, according to state records.

Bawden said the so-called "front end" of the system was ready when the website went public on Oct. 1, allowing users to determine eligibility and pay for a plan. What wasn't finished: the link to transfer information to insurance carriers and the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services. Bawden said those tasks are now complete but admitted that some parts of the site still are not finished, including components for people with special eligibility.

"Xerox is being held accountable for this contract and we're going to make sure that Nevadans have a working exchange," Bawden said.

The state records are part of an amended contract with Xerox. The documents show test results of the new system were originally due last July but that, too, was pushed back to April.

Xerox pointed out that all components of the system were not necessarily required to be done by October. Action News asked the company why it could not make the deadlines.

"The nation's health insurance exchanges - like Nevada Health Link - are unprecedented in their nature and are very complex technical implementations that require high visibility and attention," spokeswoman Jennifer Wasmer said in a statement. "Both have been given to this project by everyone involved."

Wasmer said Xerox is working closely with the state to identify problems and implement improvements.

"Xerox’s dedicated teams are moving quickly to resolve issues for Nevada Health Link and to help Nevadans get access to affordable health care through the state’s health insurance exchange," Wasmer said. "We’ve been pulling in resources from throughout our company to achieve this goal, and we’re making progress."

The statement noted an increase in staff at the call center that the company said has dramatically decreased hold times to around ten minutes.

Bawden said the state is paying Xerox as the system is finished. The overall contract is roughly $72 million and the state has paid the company about $10 million so far, Bawden said.