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Health insurance customers left waiting, wondering about policy cards

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Health insurance customers left waiting, wondering about policy cards

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Jan 8, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A Valley woman purchased health insurance through the new state exchange and needs medical services but hasn't received her policy card or number yet.

What should you do if you're in a similar situation?

Robert Parker is a part time taxi driver and full time husband to wife Jill, who has medical problems.

"A few months ago we had a doctor at one of the hospitals say she needs to be screened for cancer at this time," Robert said.

After years of struggling to find insurance for Jill, Nevada's state health exchange offered the couple a life line. Robert has an email receipt dated Dec. 9 showing he made a payment for his wife's new policy.

"As of this past Friday, we were told she's not in the system yet," Robert said. "They don't have any records of her in the system, even though the payment's been made through Health Link."

Time is ticking. Robert said coverage from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield was supposed to begin on Jan. 1. He wants to get his wife tested as soon as possible.

"It gets frustrating when they say we have no record of you and they can't even give you a time frame of when they're going to have the information for you," Robert said.

As of Jan. 4, more than 10,000 people have paid for plans through Nevada Health Link, the exchange posted on its Twitter account.

Silver State Health Insurance Exchange spokesman CJ Bawden said the exchange electronically transmits applications to insurance carriers on a nightly basis; so far, Bawden said he knows of no major problems.

Plus, insurance carriers need time to input the information.

"Anthem's goal is to make sure that anyone calling for information or to purchase an exchange plan has a positive experience," spokeswoman Joyzelle Davis said in a statement to Action News.

"As we receive enrollment files in a timely manner from the state exchange, we are processing applications as quickly as possible so members will be able to access their benefits as soon as possible. This is an unprecedented time – and we appreciate our members’ dedication to following through and ensuring that they have secured health insurance with us for 2014," Davis said.

The health link said members who paid for their policy by the deadline can begin using their insurance. First, they need to call their carrier and make sure the doctor or facility is covered under their plan. They may also obtain a policy number. Bawden said the carriers are sending out cards as the applications are processed. That's easier said, than done, for Robert.

"That's probably the only thing I was really hoping for is to let you guys know that this was happening and hopefully get some kind of answers as to when the coverage will start," Robert said.

Action News was able to put Robert in touch with Anthem, who's now trying to sort out the issue. It's unclear exactly what happened.

Bawden said the state keeps a log of when it transmits applications to insurance carriers; you can check the status as long as you have your identification number.

Michael Lopardi

Michael Lopardi

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