State pursues outside company to review Health Link problems


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State pursues outside company to review Health Link problems

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Mar 6, 2014

Henderson, NV (KTNV) -- The State of Nevada is moving forward with plans for an outside review of its troubled health insurance exchange as a frustrated customer told state officials on Thursday "thank you for nothing."

The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange is pursuing a contract with Deloitte to review and recommend fixes to Nevada Health Link. The deal could cost taxpayers up to $1.5 million, money already within the exchange budget.

The decision at Thursday's board meeting comes after weeks of complaints and problems with the system. Developer Xerox has faced heavy criticism for its performance.

The exchange board decided to keep Xerox on the job for the roughly $72 million project fearing a change in vendors so close to the March 31 open enrollment deadline would create more problems than solve. In February, exchange executive director Jon Hager announced his resignation.

Even as representatives from Xerox update the board on fixes, frustration grows for customers who have run into problems.

"I got nothing. Thank you for nothing," said Lawrence Basich, 62, of Las Vegas.

Basich's story has become the face of system problems. His insurance was left in limbo; Lawrence suffered a heart attack on Dec. 31, a day before his coverage was supposed to begin. As a result, Lawrence said he is left with more than $400,000 in medical bills. Despite three passionate pleas before the state board, his problems still are not fixed.

"You almost have to get angry," Lawrence told Action News. "You have to get fighting mad when stuff like this happens." 

Xerox said nearly 80-percent of system glitches have been fixed and enrollment has passed 20,000, but that's still far from the original goal of 118,000 and the revised goal of 50,000. Time is running out. Open enrollment ends March 31.

"We have multiple campaigns we're working on to increase enrollment," a Xerox representative told the state board Thursday.

The company also said it has assigned someone to help Lawrence.

"We will continue to manage Mr. Basich's case until it's resolved fully," Xerox said.

The state health department will also begin accepting applications to fill the director's position after Hager resigned. The goal is to have someone in place by June, according to a recommended schedule from exchange staff.

Steve Fisher, deputy administrator of the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services, is holding the position on an interim basis.