- Associated Press - Thursday, March 6, 2014

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - The board overseeing Nevada’s health insurance exchange Thursday recommended another contractor be retained to assess the state’s problem-plagued online market system.

The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange board of directors endorsed Deloitte Consulting to evaluate the system set up by Xerox. A proposed contract authorizing up to $1.5 million requires approval by the state Board of Examiners.

Deloitte is already part of Nevada’s effort to set up its own health exchange under the Affordable Care Act. It developed the system within the state Department of Health and Human Services to determine Medicaid eligibility and verify income and Social Security information through federal data hubs.

Department Director Mike Willden recommended the firm, citing its success within his agency and its familiarity with at least half of Nevada’s system.

“My feeling was if you wanted action quickly you needed someone who isn’t at ground zero,” Willden said.

Xerox was awarded a $75 million contract to develop Nevada’s online Web portal and call center. But the operation has been riddled with problems including lost payments, a backlog of consumer correspondence and computer errors. Since enrollments began Oct. 1, only 20,214 people have paid for policies through the exchange.

With only about three weeks to go in the enrollment period, sign-ups will be far fewer than the original target of 118,000 - a shortfall many blame on poor performance by Xerox.

The company is being paid in stages only as performance benchmarks are met.

A Xerox official said 148 system defects have been resolved as of the end of February and they are on track to correct 40 more by the month’s end.

But problems persist.

Lawrence Basich, a retired professional engineer, has appeared before the board weekly to complain of his experience and $400,000 in medical bills he’s acquired because his application was botched.

Basich said he paid for his premiums in November but never got confirmation of coverage. When he called to inquire, the insurance company said they had no information on his enrollment.

The Las Vegas retiree suffered a heart attack Dec. 31 and underwent bypass surgery days later. He’s pleaded with the exchange for help in sorting out his coverage. On Thursday, he summed up his frustration to the board.

“Thank you for nothing,” he said.

Board members Thursday also voted to begin the search for a new permanent executive director. Steve Fisher, deputy administrator for the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services, was named interim director last week to replace Jon Hager who resigned.

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