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Carrier helping man left with $407,000 in bills from exchange problems

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Carrier helping man left with $407,000 in bills from exchange problems

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Mar 27, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A valley man who was left with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills after running into problems with Nevada Health Link is one step closer to resolution.

Lawrence Basich, 62, of Las Vegas, suffered a heart attack in late December and required several follow up procedures. His insurance coverage was left in limbo because of problems with the system and Basich racked up roughly $407,000 in bills.

During a meeting of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange on Thursday, Health Plan of Nevada announced it is stepping up to address the problem.

"HPN has stepped forward to adjust Mr. Basich's coverage so that it is effective January 1, 2014," vice president Kyle Clingo said.

Basich smiled after the announcement, but tough words followed for developer Xerox.

The insurance company seemed to blame Xerox for the initial confusion and hinted at a possible lawsuit. Clingo also indicated that the insurance company might leave the exchange if things don't improve.

"If real changes do not occur, we believe the sustainability and success of the Silver State exchange is in serious jeopardy," Clingo said.

HPN spokeswoman Cheryl Randolph told Action News the company would process and pay Basich's eligible bills for January and February according to his benefit plan.

"We understand that there was an error by the administrator of the exchange in processing Mr. Basich’s enrollment that was not known to us and he was enrolled with another carrier," Randolph said, in part, in a statement. "We have since reached an agreement that will honor Mr. Basich’s original desire to be enrolled with Health Plan of Nevada on January 1, 2014 and we look forward to providing him with quality health care services."

Basich is one of many people who have run into problems using the state exchange. Time is running out. The deadline to enroll is March 31.

"People still, still, still are having challenges," exchange board vice chair Lynn Etkins said.

The board has approved a special, 60-day enrollment period beginning April 1 for people who have had trouble signing up. Xerox announced revised figures on Thursday that show roughly 77,000 people may benefit from the extra time.

"The numbers look great on paper," Etkins said. "This just isn't reality and all this is predicated on that website working," Etkins said.

Xerox has taken heavy criticism for its performance and vowed to make things right.

"We are trying to work with those individuals who do experience the issues; however, we are making progress," said Greg Vitiello with Xerox.

The state board also approved transferring billing duties from Xerox to the individual insurance companies because of customer billing problems. Both Xerox and the insurance companies supported the move but the two sides need to work out a time table.

Several enrollment fairs are planned for the weekend to help people sign up. 

Michael Lopardi

Michael Lopardi

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Michael Lopardi is the featured reporter of the You Ask. We Investigate. franchise at Action News.