Las Vegas Sun

September 21, 2014

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State health exchange lowers enrollment expectations

The goal of enrolling 118,000 people in the state-operated health insurance plan won't be reached, and now the target is getting 50,000 signed up by the end of March.

Jon Hager, director of the state Health Insurance Exchange, detailed the problems with the system to the legislative Interim Insurance Committee Thursday. He said payments are being withheld from the $75 million private contractor Xerox until corrections are made.

Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas, said he's still getting calls from unhappy residents who can't get through the system. He said the exchange was touted in October as one of the best in the nation but is still experiencing troubles.

The state system opened Oct. 1 and errors began cropping up in December. "It was an extremely difficult month," Hager told the committee. He said, "Xerox is being held accountable."

He said errors were on the website and Xerox has tripled its staff for the call center.

Ohrenschall replied, "Xerox has let the state down."

"It was more difficult than we expected," said Hager who added other states are experiencing the same problems.

One problem is that persons who signed up didn't complete the application. Ohrenschall suggested the exchange try to contact those individuals so they could get their insurance coverage.

At present there are 15,000 who enrolled and paid their premium.

Nevada decided to run its own health insurance exchange to comply with the Affordable Care Act instead of letting the federal government do it. It contracted with Xerox to install the system.

Xerox has also hired an independent firm to cure the problems in the computer system

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