LAS VEGAS (CN) - Thousands of Nevada residents have paid for insurance policies under the state's health exchange but still lack coverage due to problems with the online system, according to a class action in state court.
More than 10,000 Nevadans "have paid for health insurance through Nevada Health Link, yet either do not have health insurance coverage to date, or received a coverage effective date different than that for which they paid," according to the lawsuit in Clark County Court.
Lead plaintiff Lawrence Basich sued Nevada ex rel. Silver State Health Insurance Exchange and Xerox State Healthcare after he was denied coverage for his triple bypass surgery, despite having paid his health insurance premiums.
He alleges negligence, negligence misrepresentation, conversion, and violations of Nevada Revised Statutes.
The state established the exchange to facilitate purchase and sale of qualified health plans to individuals and small businesses, reduce the number of uninsured people in Nevada, and provide a transparent marketplace for consumer education on health insurance.
Xerox was awarded a $75 million contract to build and operate Nevada Health Link, the exchange's website, through which Nevadans can compare and buy health insurance plans.
However, "the exchange and Xerox have utterly failed to create a system that works as advertised, and as a result, thousands of Nevadans remain uninsured despite payment of insurance premiums," the complaint states.
Basich says he started his application for health insurance through Nevada Health Link in Oct. 1, 2013, but numerous errors and problems with the website prevented him from completing the process immediately.
In November, Basich says, he selected Health Plan of Nevada as his provider and chose and paid for a plan with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2014.
Basich suffered a heart attack on Dec. 31 and underwent triple bypass surgery on Jan. 3. He was treated on and off at the hospital until Jan. 24 and had to attend numerous follow-ups, racking up $400,000 in medical bills, he says.
"Despite selecting Health Plan of Nevada as his insurance carrier, and despite timely payment of his health insurance premiums through Nevada Health Link, Basich was denied health insurance coverage from January 1, 2014 through February 28, 2014," according to the complaint.
Xerox and the exchange allegedly failed to submit Basich's application and premium to Health Plan of Nevada, leaving him without coverage.
Basich claims that thousands of other Nevadans may be in similar circumstances based on Xerox's and the exchange's failure to process applications and premiums, to ensure that those who applied were provided with health insurance.
Basich and co-plaintiff Lea Swartley seek actual and punitive damages.
They are represented by Matthew Callister with Callister, Immerman & Associates.
The Nevada Health Link website was offline early Thursday. A note on the site stated that the "system is currently down. We apologize for any inconvenience."
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