Users report problems with state health exchange site as deadline looms


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Users report problems with state health exchange site as deadline looms

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Dec 16, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Error messages and failed log in attempts.

Frustrated users are reporting problems with Nevada's health exchange website as a deadline approaches for commercial plans.

"It's been frustrating to say the least," said Jeff Jordan of Las Vegas.

Jordan is a self-employed musician who's spent several weeks trying to enroll on the Nevada Health Link site. Sometimes, he has trouble logging on. Other times, he has problems completing the enrollment. Frustrated, his family contacted Action News. For Jordan, health insurance is key.

"I have a heart valve so it's something I need," said Jordan. "I have yearly cat scans and I obviously need the medication to keep the valve functioning properly."

Jeremy Fullam, a small businessman who owns several dance studios around Las Vegas, said he's run into problems as well.

"I've entered this information three times," Fullam said. "I've tried to make my payment. I've tried to get this thing done for about a month with no results."

Fullam, who has a wife and four children, said he's receiving error messages on the site. Some information he entered on previous sessions is erased when he returns to the site. Fullam said phoning the call center usually results in a busy signal or long hold time.

"I have to do it all so my family's insured," said Fullam.

Time is ticking. The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange said users who want coverage from a commercial plan beginning Jan. 1 must enroll by Dec. 23.

The health exchange said it's taking steps to address the issues.

"It's not perfect and it's going to take some time before it is perfect, but I think we've got a good team and we're working to address the problems," said health exchange executive director Jon Hager in a telephone interview.

Hager said a surge in interest is likely connected to some of the online issues: the website received roughly 1.3 million hits last week alone, he said. The health exchange has dozens of people monitoring the site to correct problems, Hager said.

The state said its call center volume has increased from roughly 1,200 calls each day to up to 2,200 calls since the beginning of December. Hager said the exchange is adding ten staff members in the call center by Thursday, making the new total 61 people.

Customers who are looking to pay their premiums do not need to speak with a representative and should try using the automated telephone system after hours, Hager said.

Mary-Sarah Kinner, spokeswoman for Gov. Brian Sandoval, said in an email that the governor is aware of the technical issues with the website; the health link is working to resolve those issues.

Jordan has a simple message for the state:

"Basically, fix the site so we can get on and get everything done," said Jordan.