Exchange leader predicts 50K enrollees by March 31 |

Exchange leader predicts 50K enrollees by March 31

The head of Nevada’s health care exchange told lawmakers Thursday he is holding the contractor Xerox accountable and intends to have 50,000 Nevadans enrolled in some health insurance plan by the end of March.

Jon Hager told the Interim Finance Committee, however, that as of this week, only 15,000 people are enrolled because of ongoing problems with both the Xerox-developed website and its call center.

He said Xerox has tripled the number of developers working on the website and that the call center will eventually employ 262 people to answer the phones.

He said the website was working pretty well in November “but encountered errors in December.” Wait times increased from 20 minutes to an hour.

“We are holding Xerox accountable,” he said.

“We have three goals: fix the website, fix the call center and enroll 50,000 by the end of open enrollment.”

That is still less than half the original plan to have 118,000 enrolled by the close of open enrollment March 31, he said, but that they will continue to work until the system is running smoothly and people are able to get insurance through the exchange.

Hager said the fees charged for insurance policies through the exchange — the money intended to support the exchange — may increase because of the smaller number of enrollees but that costs will also decrease because Xerox gets paid per enrollee.

“We don’t anticipate a jump of 100 percent,” he said. Xerox is per-member, per-month, so if there’s a lower enrollment, Xerox gets paid lower.”

Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas, asked if there is any way to get back in touch with the numbers of people who got so frustrated with the website and call center wait times that they gave up. Hager said there would be marketing and other outreach to try get those people back into the process once some of the problems are repaired.

IFC approved nearly $1 million from tourism’s reserves to increase advertising, promoting tourism and other enhancements to the state’s connection with China. They did so despite stated reservations from both IFC Chairman Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, and Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, about spending money abroad — especially the $100,000 for the 10th anniversary celebration of the state’s China mission. The spending was approved anyway.