Nevada Exchange Customers Ask Court For Immediate Help

By Kyle Roerink, Las Vegas Sun
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

June 19--A group of Nevadans with urgent medical conditions will ask a Clark County judge to force the state's health care exchange to provide them insurance coverage immediately, a Las Vegas attorney said at a press conference today.

The 18 plaintiffs enrolled in the Silver State Exchange, paid for health insurance but never received coverage or treatment because of defects with the state's software, said Matthew Callister, the attorney suing the state. The suit was originally filed in May. The request for immediate help will come in a preliminary injunction announced today.

Stephen Immerman, Callister's law partner, pointed the finger at Gov. Brian Sandoval's office, citing information first disclosed in a Las Vegas Sun story about the role of Sandoval's office in the Silver State Exchange's troubled October launch. "The Sandoval administration is extremely negligent and has been," he said. "People are dying. Not enough is being done."

The lawsuit also asks the court to immediately force Nevada and Xerox, the state's software contractor, to establish a fund to pay for medical procedures the plaintiffs paid for out of pocket while waiting for insurance coverage.

Callister said the plantiffs had faced an "impenetrable barrier" to get coverage despite having paid for it. The patients suffer from a variety of medical conditions that include cancer, brain aneurysms, anemia and thyroid disorders. They're just the kind of patients the Silver State Exchange and the Affordable Care Act were designed to serve.

"They are a horrible example of what happens when there's this horrific delay in coverage," Callister said.

Tom Liefer, 61, suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He said he made two $226 premium payments after enrolling on the exchange. But he later received bills from insurance companies saying he hadn't paid his premiums

"I thought it was going to work well," Liefer said. "And then everything stopped. There was pages and pages of paper work and nothings been accomplished."

In April, Callister filed a separate class action lawsuit accusing the state and Xerox of negligence. Callister said he filed the second case in May because of the "urgent and emergent" needs of some patients.

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