Las Vegas family’s medical bill nightmare vanishes
August 11, 2014
LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas family that faced more than $1 million in unpaid medical bills due partly to a mix-up in Nevada's insurance exchange has regained its coverage.
Kynell Smith, a father of five, said Nevada Health Link and his insurer, Anthem Blue Cross, resolved mistakes and technical problems that prevented his family from getting claims covered since early this year.
An insurance executive notified him Saturday that all of the family's claims are being expedited and will be paid this week, he said, adding quick resolution of the problems stemmed from media coverage of the case.
"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 to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (http://bit.ly/1rft42j ).
He bought insurance from Anthem Blue Cross through Nevada Health Link in October and made two premium payments in January.
Smith said trouble began when his wife, Amber, spent 40 days in a Las Vegas hospital and underwent two surgeries after their daughter, Kinsley, was born five weeks prematurely in February.
He said his insurance claims were denied because his wife's birth year was listed incorrectly on their insurance identification cards as 1978 instead of 1979.
He said he was unable to add the Kinsley to the family policy, leaving him unable to pay for the baby's follow-up care.
Meanwhile, some of his wife's specialists abandoned provider networks, leaving the family with unexpected out-of-pocket expenses of about $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."
Anthem Blue Cross said in a statement Saturday that Nevada Health Link's contractor, Xerox, completed documents needed to reinstate the family's coverage.
"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," the company said.