Some 115,000 people who signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace this year will lose their coverage at the end of the month for failing to provide the government with proof of citizenship or immigration status.
Officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said they sent out notices to 300,000 enrollees last month, asking them to verify their citizenship, which is required to receive health coverage under Obamacare.
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While CMS officials said they received responses from the majority of people, 115,000 did not reply and will be terminated from their insurance rolls on Sept 30. CMS is working to communicate with this group.
Andy Slavitt, principal deputy administrator at CMS, told reporters on a telephone briefing that “there are people we have reached out to, and haven’t heard from, that we still have work left to do to help them.” If these individuals submit the required documents after Sept. 30, they can still qualify to sign up for a new plan through a special enrollment period.
After Obamacare’s first open enrollment period ended last April, CMS had tallied 966,000 individuals with citizenship or immigration data-matching issues. Now the agency says 851,000 of those have been resolved or are in the process of being sorted out.
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Meanwhile, CMS also said 360,000 people had income discrepancies that have not been resolved.
Of the 1.2 million households with income data discrepancies reported at the end of May, 897,000 have been closed or are in the process of being resolved. Officials said they’d be sending out letters this week to the remaining individuals with existing data discrepancies.
“We’re asking people to get back to us by Sept 30. If they don’t, they will either face an adjustment to their premiums to reflect the income we have on record, or they face the liability or the reconciliation process when they file their taxes,” Slavitt said.
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He cautioned that the discrepancies and missing documentation issues were not a result of the law’s rocky rollout, but rather part of the process of enrolling people in coverage – since income levels change if people get married, stop working or take new jobs.
“The situation that occurred this year isn’t a one-time event. Circumstances in people’s lives will always change,” Slavitt said. “We will have more experience with these situations and each year it will go more smoothly... But we do recognize that this is a built-in part of helping people get health coverage.”
Despite requests from lawmakers and the media, CMS officials said they will still not be providing information on how many Obamacare enrollees have paid their premiums this year.
This article was updated at 6:44 p.m.
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