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Health exchange to consider extending enrollment deadline

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Health exchange to consider extending enrollment deadline

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Mar 12, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- After months of problems and complaints, the board overseeing Nevada's health insurance exchange is considering an extension to the enrollment deadline.

On Thursday, the board will consider a 60-day extension for people who have had trouble enrolling through Nevada Health Link. The current deadline is March 31. Customers must create an account before the end of March in order to benefit from the proposed extension.

"That special enrollment period would be for individuals that have had problems with Nevada Health Link for signing up so that they can have some extra time to get through the system," said spokesman CJ Bawden in a telephone interview.

As of March 8, customers have started roughly 345,000 applications, Bawden said. Roughly 298,000 applications are complete leaving another 47,000 applications not finished. The exchange is hoping to lure back those customers.

The latest enrollment numbers from March 8 show 20,930 customers have purchased plans, well below the original enrollment goal of 118,000 and the reduced goal of 50,000.

While 298,000 applications are complete, Bawden said about half of those are Medicaid applications; the remaining finished applications who did not purchase a plan likely include people who were shopping for family members or decided not to purchase a plan after discovering they do not qualify for a tax credit, Bawden said.

"I'm sure there will be people who have just given up," said Elizabeth Gini of Las Vegas.

Elizabeth is a self-employed artist who has gone several years without insurance. She had no problem enrolling but has run into other issues. Elizabeth purchased coverage through the health link in January; however, she said she still has no cards and cannot make a doctor's appointment. Despite calls to the insurance company, Elizabeth can't find out what's wrong.

"I don't have health insurance and it doesn't sound like I'm going to get it anytime soon," Elizabeth said.

Action News reached out to her insurer, Health Plan of Nevada.

"While the Exchange has sent demographic information for Ms. Gini, we are still waiting for payment from the Exchange so we can finish processing the enrollment. We have been working with the Exchange to get this matter resolved for this individual and others," spokeswoman Cheryl Randolph said in a statement.

"We understand there have been some challenges with enrollment on the exchange site, however, we continue to see strong interest in Health Plan of Nevada’s products and are working to ensure that individuals signing up for coverage receive excellent service and care," Randolph said.

The state board is scheduled to meet Thursday and receive an update from developer Xerox on glitches and problems with the exchange website.

Michael Lopardi

Michael Lopardi

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