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Obamacare health exchange errors cost family $1 million in medical bills

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Kynell Smith, 35, only wanted to find a more affordable health plan which complied with the Affordable Care Act. He saw this opportunity in the state health insurance exchange which he finds cheaper than Cobra, the insurance that had been covering his family.

He enrolled for insurance through the state's Nevada Health Link. As a new policy holder, his premium cost almost $1,600 a month, an amount that is more expensive than what Cobra offers.

Smith says his problem began in February when his daughter was born. The child was five weeks premature and had to stay in Summerlin Hospital's neonatal intensive care for 10 days. On the other hand, his wife, Amber Smith, had two surgeries and was required to stay in the hospital for 40 days.

When the time came for Smith, who works as an aircraft parts salesman, to claim on his insurance, he was denied because of a typo. His wife's birth year was entered incorrectly on their insurance identification cards. It shows a one year difference as it was written 1978 instead of 1979, the correct year.

"I have spent countless hours on the phone trying to get this resolved," said Kynell Smith. "I have contacted and pleaded with elected officials to help and was told I may have to sue to get this resolved. What kind of answer is that?"

The Smiths bought insurance in October from Anthem Blue Cross through the Nevada Health Link. In January, they made two premium payments. Then in March, the Nevada Health Link called in to tell the family that they were overpaying and they needed a new policy. The new policy has a lower premium which amounted to $1296. However, Smith had been unable to see policy details or online billing information after the policy switch.

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

Smith also tried to get his baby daughter added to the family's insurance. Despite dozens of calls and the fact that he never misses the $1300 premium payment, his family is now on the hook for all of his baby's follow up care. All these unattended calls, failed insurance claim, and unexpected out-of-pocket expenses left the family with a whopping medical bill of almost $1.2 million.

In April, the Nevada Health Link transferred the Smith's case to a "special case unit." However, the representative who's working with the family cannot answer Kynell's queries on coverage, account access, account statements, and invoices.

The Smiths have turned to Callister, Immerman & Associates law firm to join a class-action lawsuit filed by those who have the same coverage woes from the Nevada Health Link.

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