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Valley man explains passionate plea to health exchange board

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Valley man explains passionate plea to health exchange board

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Feb 14, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- More than a day after a passionate plea to state officials for help, a Valley man said he is still in limbo over his health insurance.

Lawrence Basich's speech before the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange board on Thursday left some in the audience speechless. He shared more of his story with Action News on Friday.

"All of I sudden, I felt a very, very severe pain in my upper chest," Basich recalled.

Basich said he survived one heart attack but is worried stress over health care will lead to another.

"The application process is probably the worst thing I've ever seen in my life," Basich said.

Like many people, he's fed up with Nevada Health Link.

Basich told state board members on Thursday, "I did everything I had to do according to Nevada Health Link. I paid my payment. You accepted my money. But who's going to take these bills off my hands?"

Basich said he paid his premium in November but never got confirmation from the insurance company that he was covered. When he called the insurance company, he said a representative had no information on his enrollment. On Dec. 31, he said he had a heart attack resulting in multiple hospital visits and more than $400,000 in medical bills.

"I'm not going to pay it. I'm just not going to pay it," Basich said.

After his comments at the meeting, the board chair ordered health exchange staff to follow up with Basich. But despite spending two hours with staff on Thursday, Basich said the problem still isn't fixed.

"I'm very worried about it," Basich said.

Thursday's meeting was blunt and emotional. One board member called the exchange a "full failure." Developer Xerox apologized for its performance problems and vowed to fix the problems but board members appeared to be running out of patience.

Action News asked Xerox on Thursday why something wasn't done earlier on so the problems wouldn't surface now.

"I think every milestone, whether it was Oct. 1, whether it was Jan 1, brings a new set of challenges," said Xerox group president David Hamilton. "So in terms of what we're doing, we're doing start up operations at every stage of that process and program. So every time we come upon those thing, we have to adapt."

Hamilton said Xerox is committed to fixing a complex system.

"Very large, very complicated and it really does require tuning and course correction and shifts in adjustment to Xerox's response," Hamilton said.

Some board members said they have lost faith, and so has Basich.

"I feel like I'm not alone," Basich said.

The state announced an audit of Xerox's performance on Thursday; the outcome could result in penalties. 

Action News reached out to Gov. Brian Sandoval's office on Friday.

"Governor Sandoval has made it clear to Xerox that he intends to hold it fully accountable for the failures of the Exchange and that it must build a system that actually works," spokeswoman Mary-Sarah Kinner said in an email. "He made this clear again in a meeting with Xerox's CEO yesterday. The Governor intends to make Xerox fulfill its promise to Nevadans and will hold its feet to the fire until it does."

The audit report could be complete by March.

Michael Lopardi

Michael Lopardi

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