EDITORIAL: Health Link stink

In the race for worst Obamacare horror story in Nevada, we have a new leader in the clubhouse: LaTrina Reed.

Ms. Reed, who works for a small business that employs just four people, signed up for health insurance through the Nevada Health Link exchange. And unlike the millions of Obamacare enrollees who haven’t submitted payment for coverage (see editorial below), Ms. Reed paid seven months worth of premiums.

But the insurer she contracted with through the exchange, Health Plan of Nevada, had no record of her enrollment. It’s a familiar story for the exchange, which has performed so badly that website contractor Xerox was fired. The exchange still has an undetermined number of unreconciled cases in which customers signed up but insurers never received enrollment information. The law firm of Callister, Immerman &Associates, which filed a class-action lawsuit in April over the exchange’s failures, estimates as many as 6,000 enrollees are paying for coverage but aren’t covered.

Ms. Reed has suffered greatly because of the website’s failures. As reported last week by the Review-Journal’s Jennifer Robison, Ms. Reed has a potentially cancerous ovarian cyst and nearly a dozen other growths that have caused significant blood loss since February. But because of the exchange’s problems — and the inability of anyone, anywhere to fix them — Ms. Reed couldn’t get a hysterectomy and cyst removal scheduled.

The procedures would cost about $30,000, and because Ms. Reed’s condition is not an urgent threat to her life, hospitals are not obligated to treat her. That makes her situation far worse than what Las Vegan Larry Basich endured earlier this year. Mr. Basich suffered a heart attack and underwent a triple bypass after signing up and paying for Obamacare coverage, but no insurer would pay his bills, which exceeded $400,000. At least he got the care he needed before his Obamacare nightmare.

“I walk around in pain all the time. I feel like I’m starting to crack up. I don’t understand why I keep paying for something and no one is doing anything,” Ms. Reed said. “I get a statement each month. They ask me to pay more, and I’ve done that. Still nothing. … I don’t exist, but they’re taking my money.

“When you’re messing with people’s lives, you need to step in and address the situation.”

Exactly. It took the intervention of the Review-Journal to finally get Ms. Reed covered and get her the evaluations and treatment she needs. Her surgery will take place soon.

Obamacare is a disaster, in policy and practice. It’s bad enough that our elected officials passed such a lousy law. It’s bad enough that millions of taxpayer dollars were spent on websites that never worked. But it’s totally inexcusable and unforgivable that Ms. Reed and other paying customers get no response and no help from the exchange or its insurers.

If these entities can’t do better by the people of Nevada, Gov. Brian Sandoval needs to make sure that heads roll — and that replacements actually give a damn.

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