Las Vegas Sun

September 22, 2014

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health care:

New boss says he can turn around Nevada health insurance system

The new boss of the failed state health insurance system believes he can make it work to help low-income citizens get health coverage.

Bruce Gilbert, selected Thursday to be executive director of the Nevada State Health Insurance Exchange, said he has read the audits and other reports that detail the problems of the system, which has signed up 44,000 residents instead of the predicted 118,000.

But he has yet to do an in-depth analysis of the exchange.

“Something is off track, and I’m committed to make it work,” he said Friday from his office in Addison, Texas.

He intends to take over the $117,000-a-year job in early August.

Gilbert, 60, has lived in Texas for 17 years and has changed jobs four times in the past six years. But he says he’s no fly-by-night.

He called his new job a “unique opportunity” to turn around the much-criticized system.

Gilbert has a long history in the insurance industry. He was administrator of an Ohio benefits system that covered 200,000 schoolteachers and their dependents. The system was having a budget crisis, and he negotiated a 15 percent reduction with the insurance companies that provided the policies.

There was a $6 million reduction in administrative costs, his resume says.

Asked why he wanted to come to Nevada, he said it was “an opportunity to build a legacy.” There are only 16 state systems operating to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act. He said he wanted to be a leader in the field.

The board of directors that hired Gilbert fired Xerox, which had a four-year, $75 million contract to build and operate the system. But people were unable to access the website or get answers to their questions from a call-in center.

The board decided to join the federal system for the next enrollment period in November.

Gilbert replaces Jon Hager, who resigned. Steve Fisher, deputy administrator of the state Division of Welfare and Supportive Services, has been the interim director.

Gilbert is presently head of HIX Partners LLC and before that was chief operating officer of NTALife Business Services Group. He is a licensed attorney.

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