Remember when Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) stood on the Senate floor and declared that all ObamaCare horror stories were untrue?
On February 26 of this year, Reid said, “despite all that good news, there’s plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they’re being told all over America.”
Tragically, as the Senate Majority Leader was saying those words, a woman with brain cancer was seeing her treatment delayed due to glitches in Nevada’s dysfunctional health exchange, resulting in her brain tumor going from treatable to fatal.
Linda Rolain, 64, passed away on Monday, after having joined two lawsuits against the State of Nevada and Xerox, the company that built its glitch-ridden online software.
Linda Rolain was first diagnosed with a brain tumor in early 2014, after a seizure in late 2013. Robert Rolain said in a June 19 news conference at the downtown Las Vegas offices of Callister, Immerman and Associates that his wife’s care was delayed for months because of their insurance troubles.
Robert Rolain alleges his wife’s tumor went from treatable in winter to fatal in spring as the couple fought for coverage.
The couple had tried to sign up in November, ahead of the Dec. 15 deadline for January coverage, but due to repeated sign-up problems, they ended up with a plan that was supposed to take effect in March. Thanks to additional blunders that were no fault of her own, it was delayed until May.
They finally enrolled in January and sent a $138 money order to the exchange for a plan that was set to start March 1 – but when she sought treatment, she was told there was no record of her name.The insurance company finally sent her an insurance card in May and she underwent brain surgery but suffered through a difficult recovery.
A local insurance broker hints that the dysfunctional system may claim more victims before the problems are ironed out.
Local insurance broker Pat Casale, who in May began to help Rolain with her enrollment issues, said he wouldn’t be surprised if there were at least another 100 Nevadans facing both coverage problems and “urgent and emergent” health care needs.“I know a few that I have right now (are) in serious need of care — people who have actually paid premiums and have not received care,” Casale said.
He blamed the coverage issues on Xerox’s “ineptitude” and “inability to get paperwork and to process things through to” the Rolains’ insurer, Nevada Health CO-OP.
“This poor lady was told in January that she needed immediate attention,” Casale said. “Her doctor said if she had begun treatment in March, he might been able to give her quality of care, and she might have lived longer. She had no chance because of the delay.
“Ms. Rolain should have had coverage in January. (The Rolains) did everything they could to facilitate the acquisition of a health plan,” Casale added. “She suffered and she died all because of the negligence of a vendor who should not even be in the industry.”
That’s what makes this such a tragic story – it didn’t have to happen.