Obamacare

Nevada Family Loses $1.2 Million Thanks to Obamacare Coverage Typo

This slight error has produced a fiasco for the family.

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ACA
Pete Souza / White House

Las Vegas woman Amber Smith has accrued $1.2 million in medical expenses because her health plan—purchased through Nevada's Obamacare insurance exchange—recorded her birth date incorrectly. This slight error has produced a fiasco for the family, but they may have to sue the exchange before they get the coverage they paid for.

Smith, her husband Kynell, and their five children have racked up more than a million dollars in bills after Smith's premature baby delivery. Their Anthem Blue Cross Insurance was supposed to cover it—they have made their monthly premium payments of $1,300—but the company couldn't process her claims because her birth date was recorded as 1978 instead of 1979.

The Las-Vegas Review Journal has more:

The Smiths are the latest in a line of consumers reporting technical problems with Nevada Health Link, the Xerox-built marketplace through which Nevadans can buy subsidized health insurance to comply with the Affordable Care Act. Las Vegan Larry Basich ran up more than $400,000 in uncovered bills in February after Xerox's system couldn't figure out which insurer he signed up with. Basich got coverage in March, after a flurry of media attention.

The board of the state exchange voted in May to drop Xerox and its system, and borrow sign-up functions of the federal Healthcare.gov when open enrollment begins Nov. 15.

Spokesman CJ Bawden said the exchange is "fully aware" of the Smiths' case.

"We're working very quickly to solve it," he said. "There are multiple issues incorporated in this case, and it's something that just takes a bit of time to work through. But we're trying to solve it as quickly as possible so they will have access to their health insurance, and will be able to go back and make sure charges accrued over this time period are taken care of by their insurance."

Anthem spokeswoman Joyzelle Davis said the case "illustrates the frustrations we and the health exchange have had in dealing with Xerox."

Xerox built its software so that changes such as birth dates have to be handled by the exchange system rather than by the carrier, Davis said.

The Smiths have contacted a lawyer and may be joining a class action lawsuit against Nevada Health Link. In the meantime, they are still paying.

"All I know is, I am sending checks and they are cashing them," Smith said.

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  1. Indeed, watcha talkin’ ’bout, Willis?

  2. And those class action suits against the exchanges will just make the Obamacare savings greater! Oh wait…

    1. I thought the whole point of ceding insane amounts of power to the BEST AND BRIGHTEST? is that everything would be done so well and so righteously.

      Perhaps we’ve been drugged and aren’t perceiving reality correctly, because something seems horribly wrong.

      1. That they’re so insanely incompetent is the only positive thing here. If they had just done a really shitty job, people would shrug and go “that’s government, like the DMV”. But this is light years worse. Maybe–just maybe–it’ll wake some people up.

        1. I’d like to think so. I think one big reason the state has crept up on us so much is that most Americans–this goes way back, too–don’t really focus much on anything but their own lives. If we feel reasonably free, affluent, and happy, we don’t really freak out that much about what the government is doing, especially when the republic is still in place, just viewing things superficially.

          But I agree, I think things are going too far for that kind of indifference to continue. It’s absolutely true–and it’s true for both anarchists and minarchists–you can’t stop fighting against incursions on your liberty. They will never stop, no matter what system you have. People can’t be trusted with power over you–simple as that.

          1. If we feel reasonably free, affluent, and happy, we don’t really freak out that much about what the government is doing, especially when the republic is still in place, just viewing things superficially.

            I’d bet a Reason-Rupe poll of Romans circa 10 AD would have supported this feeling.

            1. Absolutely. We’re lucky, in a way, that Obama–and Bush before him–aren’t particularly good at pretending to follow the law. They’re acting more like Julius Caesar than Augustus, in other words.

          2. I would say that people have just come to accept getting screwed as normal. How many times do you hear “well, whaddya gonna do?” when you talk about government incompetence?

            1. This, sadly.

            2. Yeah, “well, waddayagonnado” has replaced “its a free country”.

              For good reason.

          3. The state has crept up on us so much because that’s what government does. Its perverse incentives completely push it towards that, along with being inefficient, wasteful, and incompetent. If there is prosperity to feed on, it will gorge. This is the most pressing problem with government, because we want to be prosperous. But when we are, the parasite of government goes crazy…and then starts to ruin that prosperity on top of it all.

            Government is not the solution.

            1. The solution is technology that makes me, individually, so powerful and so invincible that no government can stop me.

              So I’m waiting for that technology.

              1. Let me know if you ever need a minion for your secret lair!

              2. So I’m waiting for that technology.

                It already exists.

            2. Government – you can’t live with ’em and you can’t kill ’em.

  3. They should be grateful; think how bad it would have been without the ACA. The Fedgov is there for you; just be patient. Rome wasn’t burned in a day.

    BUILT. Rome wasn’t BUILT in a day, you know.

    1. Good one, not “burned” in a day. There is hope for the U.S., yet.

    2. The Great Fire of Rome lasted 6 days.

      So Rome was burned in a week.

      1. “It wasn’t that great, actually…”

        ~Nero

        1. I thought it was pretty hot!

    3. “Rome wasn’t BUILT in a day, you know.”

      Hey, You didn’t Build that!

  4. And this is DUE to the Affordable Care Act? I had twins in 1986. In the ensuing years, I have had three different occasions, w/ three different Health Care insurers where they could not, for some reason, comprehend that two children (or more I assume) could have the same birth date. Which always manifested itself in my “Twin B’s” charges being rejected as a “double charge”.
    Human error is not the fault of the Affordable Care Act. Perhaps, if those entering the info were paid a living wage, these things would not happen as often?

    1. Do people become less retarded because you pay them more?

    2. Perhaps.

      Perhaps NOT.

    3. In the media push to force Obamacare on America, every little problem with private insurance was trotted out as a horror story.

      You wanted to take over healthcare, so all this shit is on you now, proggy.

      1. Nothing is ever their fault, NutraSweet. Don’t you know that?

        1. Obamascare will go down in public school history as the single worst thing Bush ever did.

    4. I think these guys are just angry that they no longer get to bitch about how terrible insurance companies are because everything that ever goes wrong now must be Obama’s fault. That’s quite a gap in life’s bitchery repertoire.

      1. Can somebody explain what this is supposed to mean?

        1. No, even Tony can’t explain what it means.

      2. I think …

        On come on Tony … who do you think you’re kidding?

      3. Stories like this, about insurance companies, were used to justify the ACA. Now Obumble’s lackeys do it and it is just someone being bitchy.

        Heh. This is exactly the kind of shit we said would happen. Competence of the DMV and compassion of the IRS. You balked at that, remember?

        Fuck you Tiny.

        1. Which is why I was in favor of a plan that would have ended the health insurance industry as the parasite on society it is. Nevertheless it is a stretch to blame this problem on Obama. I realize you blame every bad thing ever on him.

          1. Which is why I was in favor of a plan that would have ended the health insurance industry as the parasite on society it is……and enable government to become an even bigger parasite.

            Healthcare with all the loving kindness and top notch efficiency of the DMV with far fewer avenues for recourse when they fuck up your coverage.

            No thanks fuckwit.

          2. Tony|8.8.14 @ 4:19PM|#
            “Which is why I was in favor of a plan that would have ended the health insurance industry as the parasite on society it is”

            I presume you are familiar with the term “lie”?
            If not, you should be.

          3. Yeah, and that universe, screwups would never happen either. Because putting a giant bureaucracy run by political cronies in charge of things always makes them super-efficient and customer-friendly.

          4. Unlike government run Medicare, which wastes more money in fraudulent payments every year than private insurers ever earned in profit. Who is the parasite on society, exactly?

      4. Tony|8.8.14 @ 3:33PM|#
        “I think these guys are just angry that they no longer get to bitch about how terrible insurance companies are because everything that ever goes wrong now must be Obama’s fault.”

        We spend how many billions of dollars, set up an entirely new, huge bureaucracy, screw up the lives of how many people, add cost to millions of medical insurance premiums, and Tony informs us that it’s really not much worse than what we had.
        Now, isn’t that reassuring?

        1. Tony and the poster here are cut from the same cloth:

          “Let’s just imagine the situation the Smiths would be in were it not for Obamacare. Since Kynell’s employer, TP Aerospace, refused to offer its employees health insurance the Smith’s would be in the same sinking boat with no hope of rescue and when they eventually were able to get coverage any care that Amber needed as a result of her pregnancy would be exempted as a pre-existing condition.”

          1. “Since Kynell’s employer, TP Aerospace, refused to offer its employees health insurance the Smith’s would be in the same sinking boat with no hope of rescue”

            Moral midgets are incapable of taking responsibility for their own well-being. Some therefore presume the government should step in a help.
            I’m not sure; if they are parasites like Tony, well maybe they should just end up behind the restaurants dumpster-diving until they learn something.

    5. ” Perhaps, if those entering the info were paid a living wage, these things would not happen as often?”

      *Blank stare*

      Trolling. This has to be trolling. Nobody is that stupid.

      1. “Trolling. This has to be trolling. Nobody is that stupid.”

        Oh, yes they are!

        1. Sure they are. And lots of them apparently work for the government.

      2. No, you see, paying people more makes them smarter and more competent. It only follows. Smart, hardworking people tend to make more money. Therefor paying people more money will make them smarter and more hardworking.

        1. And wet sidewalks cause rain!

    6. Perhaps, if those entering the info were paid a living wage, these things would not happen as often?

      Oh, for fuck’s sake. Maybe if they were competent in what they do they could earn more on their own merits. Somehow when I worked low wage jobs I still managed to care about doing a good job and not fuck things up.

    7. And this is DUE to the Affordable Care Act?

      She bought an ACA policy through an ACA exchange, so yeah, I’m comfortable saying its due to the ACA.

  5. Surely this is yet another fake scandal…

  6. I’m surprised there aren’t more cases like this, given everything we heard about data being entered incorrectly or not at all on many, many, insurance applications made through the exchanges.

  7. You know, if gold glove medical care was purely free, all this paper work would just go away. No paper work, no mistakes. My unicorn told me so…

    1. It’s like, why do we even need money, you know? Why can’t they just deliver the baby, and that’s that?

      1. I went on a free boat tour of Amsterdam given by an anarchist (the bad kind). He went on a rant about how money was the root of all evil and we should abolish it.

        At the end of the tour, he asked us all for tips to pay for gas for the boat, food, etc.

        “I know, I know, but I’ve got to pay for the gas somehow.”

  8. Xerox built its software so that changes such as birth dates have to be handled by the exchange system rather than by the carrier, Davis said.

    Which shouldn’t really matter, since the user enters the birth date on the browser page (most likely). The data would merely pass electronically from one system to another.

    Of course, what REALLY happens is the data entered on the screen is printed out by a data entry clerk who then types in in again into the REAL system – and this clerk typed in the wrong year. Because making sure data is passed from system to system electronically requires lot of formatting and testing and bug fixing and re-testing etc. Xerox would charge a lot of money for that level of quality.

    1. The hell are they using Xerox? Xerox is known as a company that doesn’t think ahead or innovate.

      I realize now I answered my own question.

      1. Well, that’s a bit of an overstatement. XEROX PARC, anyone? And you have no idea how many times the bureaucrats made XEROX add “features” that could be responsible for this.

        1. Xerox has been shit for about 30 years, dude.

    2. Birth dates have to be handled by the exchange because they are part of the dataset used to calculate subsidies.

      That’s not a design flaw. That’s the way it has to be.

  9. Of course, what REALLY happens is the data entered on the screen is printed out by a data entry clerk who then types in in again into the REAL system – and this clerk typed in the wrong year.

    That’s how government creates jobs!

    1. Yep, turn every process into a Rube-Goldberg machine.

      “Sorry, we can’t process your tax returns. The gorilla that pulls the wheel that drives the conveyor belt that carries your request through the office actually caught the banana that we were dangling in front of him. We’re waiting on a new banana. Could be a few days…”

    2. And yet you deny the magic multiplier!

  10. This just proves how much Obamacare is needed. See what happens when she doesn’t get coverage?

  11. lol, that really cracks me up man, LIke seriously.

    http://www.AnonGalaxy.tk

  12. I have a feeling this will be resolved pretty easily and in favor of the family. I bet this is the very first time anyone’s ever had problems with insurance because of typos.

    1. Both articles also seem to leave out the details of when the family actually gave them 1.2 million dollars? So they haven’t actually lost anything but time right? Yes it’s a headache, mistakes happen, but does anyone here really believe it won’t be resolved correctly?

      1. If it’s just the entry of the birthdate, and the insurance company made the mistake, there should be no problem fixing it. If the exchange made the mistake, they’ll probably fix it but we taxpayers will pay.

        Now, the real fun is going to happen when all the people who were told they are Medicaid eligible but are not have to pay back Medicaid (and it’s too late to get other insurance).

        1. Not sure what your last comment has to do with this. But what if the customer’s made the mistake? You’re still making a big leap to suggest that all their insurance coverage is now invalid. And if it’s invalid because of the birthday that seems like a policy for the insurance company and not much to do with the Exchange, particularly if the mistake was made by the family. Which the article seems to absolve them of any possible mistakes.

          1. Maybe you?re right – I mean looking at this logically, is it likely that someone born in the late 70?s gave their birth year wrong or that someone else entered it incorrectly?

            Or let me ask you this – if you school, work, whatever had an incorrect birth year for you – would you leap to the conclusion that it was likely your fault?

            1. I would at least entertain the possibility that I could have made a mistake as well. I’m impressed you’ve never made a typo before. But the typo isn’t my real point, it’s that their coverage will likely stay intact. And I find it difficult to believe there’s a consistent off by one error for everyone signing up for insurance in Nevada.

  13. This doesn’t seem like an obamacare issue. The problem seems to be with the insurer being unwilling to correct the problem on their end.

    It’s not Obamacare that is preventing them from paying out, nor from correcting their database error, even if it was a mistake originally made by the applicant.

    1. It’s not clear, but I think that the exchange must have made the mistake. The companies that got billions produced systems that are really wonky (maybe because they were given wonky design specs), but the bottom line is that a lot of people are in the wrong programs and cleaning it up will be a mess.

      1. In other words, yes, it IS Obamacare’s fault. No one seemed to be watching the store during the implementation of the biggest program we’ve seen since Medicare. Compare Medicare, which rolled out pretty well. Why didn’t we get Medicare for all? No 50 different exchanges, no insurance companies. Because lobbyists.

        1. You know for a fact that the people didn’t incorrectly enter in their birth year?

  14. Tip of the iceberg. My experience suggests that at least 10% of people who applied through the exchanges were assigned to inapplicable coverage. Many have had no premiums collected. This is going to be a sh^tstorm of gigantic proportion.

  15. The federal exchange system also requires all changes to be made at the exchange, not the carrier. So when they had a typo in my wife’s name, we had to go all the way back through the entire application process – just to flip two letters.

    Not a very viable system, absent a state imposed monopoly and a state subsidy.

    1. You know you don’t have to buy insurance on the exchange right? That’s not a monopoly.

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