Last year’s botched website build for the Nevada Health Link insurance exchange could continue to haunt some consumers through tax season.
Exchange customers are beginning to report mistakes on the IRS forms they received from the exchange to calculate their federal premium tax credit. The errors appear to come from incorrect coverage dates compiled by Xerox, the Nevada Health Link contractor fired in May over the website’s technical glitches.
Neither insurance brokers nor exchange officials say they have yet seen a groundswell of consumers with faulty statements, which are called 1095-A forms. But it’s early in the tax season, and some states that saw far fewer technical troubles enrolling people have already reported large numbers of errors.
Nevada Health Link officials acknowledged Thursday that they expect some form-related snafus.
“Problems with inception of coverage and termination dates have been a long-standing issue in terms of dealing with Xerox’s data,” said Bruce Gilbert, the exchange’s executive director. “We have understood and always recognized there would be errors as a result of the data in the system, and we’ve been working on reconciling that. We did know to some degree that the problem would be out there, and we’ve tried to be prepared for it.”
In one example, a Las Vegas man received a statement that lists two months of exchange-based coverage he never had. His form shows his plan ending in August, rather than its correct termination date in June. Now, the IRS wants the consumer to pay a $600 adjustment in his premium tax credit, said his broker, Lou Cila.
Cila said he’s had two other clients tell him they owed about $600 because of incorrect statement information.
It’s not clear how many Nevadans might face statement issues.
The exchange sent 30,000 forms statewide during the third week in January. Because the agency tracks problems in a “global” way, rather than breaking problems into categories such as incorrect termination dates or payment hiccups, it’s difficult to estimate what percent of the forms might have effective-date mistakes, Gilbert said.
Nevada’s share of inaccurate statements could be sizable given the number of technical problems it experienced.
At one point in March, Xerox and the exchange had a “pends” list of more than 10,000 consumers — about a third of its customer base — who had trouble paying for or receiving a plan due to software glitches. That list was down to about 700 by December, the last month of the 2014 tax year.
Asked Cila: “If I have three myself already, how many more are out there?”
Even states with more successful exchanges report problems with the forms.
Covered California said on Feb. 13 that 100,000 of the 900,000 statements — or 11.1 percent — it mailed had mistakes. The exchange said it would send out corrected forms by the end of February.
Brokers and exchange officials alike advise marketplace buyers to do their taxes now so they have time to ask for a revised statement.
They also urge buyers who think their 1095-A form has inaccuracies to call the exchange immediately at 855-768-5465.
“Because we knew it would be a problem, we put a plan in place to assist consumers who might need corrected forms,” Gilbert said. “We’ve worked with the call center to help people work through these issues. They’re expecting calls, and they’re prepared to deal with those calls.”
Call-center representatives will investigate mistakes, resolve them and issue a correct statement, Gilbert said. The exchange will also send a report to the IRS to clear up tax discrepancies, he said.
“We have people grinding on it every day,” Gilbert said. “If you believe you received a 1095-A with incorrect coverage dates, make a call and bring it to our attention as quickly as possible.”