RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- A critical deadline is fast approaching. If you don't have health coverage, you have 18 days left to sign up for health insurance. After March 31, you will face the possibility of penalties from the federal government.
There are Nevadans trying to comply with the law, but cannot because of problems with Nevada's Silver State Exchange. Nevada Health Link Communications Officer C.J. Bawden said there are still thousands of applications pending. We learned problems in signing up still exist, all while the clock is ticking.
A gentleman named Lawrence Baisich from southern Nevada is becoming a familiar face. He's testified before the Health Exchange Board several times. He testified again on Thursday, saying even with intervention from the governor's office last week, his effective date is still not right. He says he believes he is the typical Nevadan just trying to get health coverage.
His broker echoed the same sentiments from brokers who testified last week that many problems remain for those simply fighting to get coverage. With the deadline fast approaching, there are thousands of Nevadans with applications still pending.
"There are about 50,000 out there that are in the process," said Bawden. "So if a person had a problem and walked away, that could be one of those, but it could be up to 50,000."
The problems are many, from technical difficulties to administrative issues. Interim Director Steve Fisher told the board that the contractor, Xerox, has made significant operational and IT changes. Fisher has also allocated some state resources to oversee these areas.
There have been so many problems that the board considered granting an extension to those in the pipeline. "Individuals that are already in the system as of March 31, and encountered difficulty with enrolling in health insurance or did not receive an eligibility determination," said Bawden. "They could be granted extra time to complete that enrollment."
The board delayed taking any action on providing an extension to those caught in the pipeline and thus, through no fault of their own, fail to meet the deadline. The board said it wanted more information.
If you are waiting for all the problems to be fixed before you sign up, you run the risk of facing federal penalties, if you fail to get into the system by the March 31 deadline.