Lawsuit Filed Against Nevada Health Exchange
Benjamin Fearnow April 2, 2014 6:51 AM
Las Vegas (CBS LAS VEGAS) – Just days after the deadline to enroll for insurance coverage through Nevada Health Link, the first class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of residents who say they signed up and paid their premiums – but were never given coverage.
Law firm Callister & Associates filed the lawsuit on behalf of Larry Basich, who signed up for state health insurance and paid premiums as far back as November, but then was not covered following a Jan. 3 triple bypass procedure that saw his $400,000 in medical expenses passed between the wrong insurance companies, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court of Nevada on Tuesday alleges gross negligence and failure to do due diligence against the state of Nevada, the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange (which runs Nevada Health Link), and the company that won the contract to build the exchange, Xerox.
Four companies had responded with proposals to build the state’s Obamacare exchange, and Xerox won in what state officials said was a standard process for the national and state governments in reviewing bids for technology contracts. Xerox won the bid after receiving the highest-score on a state criteria list ranging from financial stability to comparable contract experience.
The Nevada state government has since given the second-place company, Deloitte Consulting, a $1.5 million contract to fix the Nevada Health Link.
Attorney Matthew Callister told the Review-Journal that about 40 people had called saying they had also paid their insurance premiums but have no coverage. As of last week, the Nevada Health Link had a “pends” list totaling more than 10,500 people still without coverage.
Lea Swartley, who also has received no coverage despite paying premiums, is the co-plaintiff in the lawsuit.
“There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Nevadans who have been paying premiums for 2, 3, 4 months, not receiving any coverage whatsoever,” Callister told KTNV-TV. “I talked to a mom an hour ago who has skin cancer and she can’t go in to have her skin cancer treatment because her doctor says, ‘Who is your carrier?’”
As of Saturday, 40,500 consumers had selected qualified health plans through the exchange. Of those, 24,000 had paid for coverage, the Associated Press reports.
Callister noted that the lawsuit is not an attack on the Affordable Care Act or the state’s insurance exchange.
“This has nothing to do with the ACA. This is 100 percent about Xerox, who won the bid from the state of Nevada to create this exchange. And they’ve failed. They absolutely failed,” Callister told the Review-Journal.
“I just want to get people covered who paid for coverage,” Callister said. “State law said that’s what’s supposed to happen.”