Vegas dad: Typo on health insurance bill cost $1 million

LAS VEGAS — A father of five in Las Vegas says an incorrect birthdate on an application on a family health plan bought through Nevada’s insurance exchange is among the issues that have him facing more than $1 million in medical bills.

Kynell Smith told the Las Vegas Review-Journal for a Friday report that he bought insurance from Anthem Blue Cross through Nevada Health Link in October and made two premium payments in January.

Efforts by The Associated Press to reach Smith on Friday were unsuccessful.

Exchange spokesman CJ Bawden said officials were trying to resolve the case, and Anthem spokeswoman Joyzelle Davis said company officials were hopeful the issue would be fixed quickly.

Smith told the newspaper that trouble began in February, when daughter Kinsley was born five weeks prematurely and spent 10 days in neonatal intensive care at a northwest Las Vegas hospital. Wife Amber Smith spent 40 days in the hospital and underwent two surgeries, he said.

Smith, an aircraft parts salesman, said his insurance claims were denied because his wife’s birth year was listed incorrectly on the family’s insurance identification cards — written as 1978, when it should have been 1979.

Smith said he was unable to add baby Kinsley to the family policy, leaving the Smiths to pay for the baby’s follow-up care.

Meanwhile, some of Amber’s specialists abandoned provider networks, leaving the family with unexpected out-of-pocket expenses.

Smith put the family grand total at about $1.2 million.

Bawden said there were multiple issues at play in Smith’s case, and it would take time to work through.

Davis said the case illustrated frustrations that providers and the health exchange had with the software builder, Xerox.

In May, Nevada terminated its $75 million contract with Xerox because of ongoing problems with computer errors.

When enrollment begins Nov. 15, state sign-ups will be handled by the federal website.

Davis said changes such as birthdates have had to be handled by the exchange rather than the carrier, and the only way to add a baby to a family policy has been to cancel the policy for the entire household and reissue a new plan including the newborn.

Davis said Anthem’s records show the Smiths’ old policy was cancelled and that payments and coverage hadn’t been applied to a new plan.

Smith told the Review-Journal that he contacted a law firm about joining a class-action lawsuit involving plaintiffs who say they’ve paid for plans through Nevada Health Link but haven’t received coverage.


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