Vegas family’s $1 million medical bills to be paid

A Las Vegas family that faced more than $1 million in unpaid medical bills due to a state insurance exchange mix-up is finally covered.

Kynell Smith said Saturday afternoon that Nevada Health Link and his insurer, Anthem Blue Cross, had worked out mistakes and technical problems that kept his family from getting claims covered since early 2014.

Smith said Ken Goulet, president and CEO of Anthem parent WellPoint’s Commercial and Specialty Division, called him Saturday to tell him all of the family’s claims are being expedited and will be paid this week.

Anthem said in a Saturday statement that Nevada Health Link’s contractor, Xerox, completed the documents needed to instate the Smiths’ coverage.

“We are pleased to report that late yesterday, Xerox sent Anthem the necessary paperwork so that we could serve our members Kynell and Amber Smith and add their newborn child to their family policy. We are working diligently to ensure that all of the Smith family’s claims are paid as quickly as possible, and Anthem is committed to making sure that this family continues to get the care that they need.”

Smith credited media attention on the case for fixing the issues. The Review-Journal ran a story Friday detailing the Smiths’ insurance troubles.

“Six-plus months of doing nothing and it took less than two hours to fix the problems with the policy. Completely insane,” he wrote in an email.

Smith and his wife, Amber, endured months’ worth of troubles ironing out the policy they bought through Nevada Health Link, the insurance marketplace through which consumers can buy coverage to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act.

Among the issues: Amber Smith’s birth date was off by a year on her insurance cards, causing providers to deny her claims. Also, the family had been unable to add their fifth child, a daughter born five weeks prematurely in February, to their plan.

The family’s medical bills following their newborn’s birth reached $1.2 million.

“For the first time in eight months, I will be able to go to sleep tonight not worrying about when my insurance will actually be correct and in effect,” Smith wrote. “It’s like a 10,000-lb weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Now I can fully concentrate on helping my wife continue the long road to a full recovery.”

Contact Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com. Find her on Twitter: @J_Robison1 .