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Health insurance customers frustrated over roadblocks with new policies

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Health insurance customers frustrated over roadblocks with new policies

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Jan 17, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- People who purchased health insurance through Nevada's state exchange are fed up with roadblocks trying to use their new policies and some are in desperate need of medical help.

"I just give up. I no longer know what to do," said Lori Naegle of Las Vegas.

Her account shows she purchased health insurance through Nevada Health Link in December. Coverage was supposed to start by Jan. 1. But Naegle said the carrier she selected, Nevada Health CO-OP, is still waiting on the information from the health link.

"I usually end up in tears by the time I am done on the phone," Naegle said.

For her, the situation is serious. Naegle is on oxygen after being hospitalized for pneumonia this week. Luckily, she said the co-op was able to help her get hospital care. But she had to pay out of pocket for medications; the three drugs she couldn't afford, she didn't get.

"I have high blood pressure. There's blood pressure medications that need to be filled," Naegle said. "I need to see my primary doctor."

CJ Bawden, spokesman for the health link, said some applications were delayed being sent to the carrier, primarily those involving tax credits, so the agency could be sure the information was accurate. He said that process is now finished. It's unclear how many applications were impacted.

Meanwhile, Nevada Health CO-OP said it received a large batch of applications from the health link around Dec. 28, weeks later than initially expected. 

As a result, "Put us up against the wall a little bit as far as distribution of the ID cards and really test or confirming the data that they sent out," said Tom Zumtobel, CEO of the co-op, in a telephone interview with Action News.

The co-op said it's adding staff and processing applications as quickly as possible.

Xerox, which is helping the state run the health link website and call center, told Action News it's redirecting resources to get all aspects of the health link right.

The company sent a statement to Action News that reads, in part, "...we at Xerox regret any difficulties Nevadans may be experiencing, but are we dedicating ourselves to ensure they receive the healthcare support they deserve."

Still, Naegle is losing hope.

"I just keep getting nowhere," she said. "I've gotten no answers."

Generally speaking, you don't necessarily need a health insurance card to use a policy but that doesn't make a difference in Naegle's case. Action News is working to put her in touch with the co-op to get her problem fixed.

Michael Lopardi

Michael Lopardi

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