Time ran out for Linda Rolain.
The Las Vegas woman died Monday, less than two weeks after her family went public with details about Nevada Health Link insurance exchange enrollment troubles that kept her from treatment in January for an aggressive brain tumor.
Rolain was one of about 150 Nevadans suing Nevada Health Link contractor Xerox for enrollment mix-ups that left them without the health insurance they paid for.
Rolain is the first to die of complications from an illness said to have gone untreated for lack of coverage. But observers close to her case say she may not be the last.
“We are worried that this is the first of many Nevadans who have life-threatening issues that may end up in such tragic circumstances. We urge all Nevadans to verify that their insurance is active and in place in light of the many problems that hundreds, if not thousands, of Nevadans have gone through,” Rolain’s law firm, Callister, Immerman and Associates, said in a statement.
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.
Rolain’s husband, Robert, said the couple began trying to sign up in November, well ahead of the Dec. 15 deadline for January coverage. After wrestling with repeated sign-up problems, the Rolains bought a plan that took effect in March. But they said Xerox staffers miscommunicated the policy’s effective date, so they didn’t know until May that they had coverage.
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.