Glitch delays billing for exchange policies

The bills are in the mail. Or they will be soon, Nevada health insurance exchange officials said Friday.

A computer glitch delayed February premium notices from being sent out on time.

The invoices should have been mailed by Jan. 15, said CJ Bawden, spokesman for Nevada Health Link. Instead, some were mailed Friday, and the rest will be sent by Monday.

That means the bills will arrive after the due date of Jan. 25.

Bawden said there is a built-in grace period to ensure continued insurance coverage. The deadline is Feb. 24, but officials urge consumers “to pay promptly to ensure accounts accurately reflect payments.”

Xerox State Healthcare is the private contractor that designed and set up Nevada’s online insurance portal.

The company was awarded a $75 million contract paid for with federal grants to build and operate Nevada’s system, part of the federal health care reform law.

“We are doing constant reviews of our system and making regular improvements,” Xerox President David Hamilton said in a statement. “We identified the issue with billing earlier this week and worked around the clock to rectify it. We apologize that bills for this month are late and will send out March invoices in a timely matter.”

Problems encountered by Nevada’s state-run exchange are similar to others around the country and those operated by the federal government.

When enrollment began Oct. 1, access to the website was snarled by errors and slow response times.

A call center set up by Xerox to handle consumer questions and assist in signing people up was understaffed, resulting in long wait times and consumer complaints.

That performance drew criticism from members of the Silver State Health Insurance Board that oversees the exchange.

“I just don’t hear or sense a note of urgency from Xerox,” Lynn Etkins, vice chairwoman of the board, said during a meeting in December. “It’s just very frustrating what I’m hearing.”


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