In recent months, it was reported that a healthy percentage of the people who signed up for - and were granted access to - the health insurance exchanges put into place by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were later flagged for documentation issues that might have rendered them ineligible. Now, hundreds of thousands of those people could lose their coverage later this year.
In all, about 2 million people were found to have some sort of issue with their personal data - errors, discrepancies, and so forth - back in May, and as many as 310,000 now face dire consequences if they can't get those potential problems sorted out within the next month or so, according to a report from the McClatchy News Service. Unless those people can prove their citizenship or immigration status to the federal government with significant supporting documentation, by September 5, they may have to lose their health coverage as of September 30.
Of course, that's less than 1 in 3 people who were originally flagged as having citizenship or immigration statuses reported on their Healthcare.gov applications which did not reflect the government's own records, but since that time, nearly half of the original 970,000 problems have been cleared up, the report said. Another 210,000 have entered the resolution process but not come out the other side free and clear.
What's being done?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is now sending notifications - in both English and Spanish - to the remaining people for whom discrepancies still exist and letting them know of the potentially jarring changes they face if they can't prove their status, the report said. Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told the news agency that the government is committed to keeping as many of these people signed up for coverage as is possible, but that if people aren't eligible to be on the exchanges, they might face termination of their policies. The federal government is also moving to make the process as easy as possible for those people so that they don't face a discontinuation of their coverage for any period of time.
Insurance companies may be able to help those who fall through the cracks with this process, and end up losing coverage, by providing affected consumers with affordable options that will help to stay compliant with federal requirements for having health plans while simultaneously keeping costs down.