Wednesday, March 4, 2015

HHS Terminates Obamacare Coverage for 90,000 for Lack of Citizenship, Immigration Documents

    The Obama administration in recent weeks has been trumpeting the number of signups for health insurance through the Obamacare marketplaces for 2015, but at least 90,000 consumers who had coverage last year are losing it. In this week's Affordable Care Act open enrollment report, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that processing has been completed for most accounts with "citizenship and immigration data matching issues," and those unable to provide appropriate documentation have had their coverage terminated. A relevant portion of the item posted on the HHS blog is below [emphasis added]:
We have now completed processing the information submitted by most of those with citizenship and immigration data matching issues described in last week’s snapshot.  As a result, approximately 90,000 consumers who had 2014 coverage were not able to continue their Marketplace coverage in 2015 because they did not provide the necessary documentation of their citizenship or immigration status (the previous estimate was 200,000). Their coverage has been terminated and these individuals are no longer included in the cumulative total.  As such, the change in the weekly and cumulative total reflects both the increased number of sign-ups due to the special enrollment period and the reduced number of re-enrollees due to this action. 
    As noted, HHS had previously estimated the number who lacked documentation to be as high as 200,000. HHS noted that "these individuals are still included in the cumulative total reported ... [8,797,577 plan selections], but they will be removed in future reports after their coverage ends on February 28." Total plan selections, however, still increased as of this week's report to 8,838,291 despite the removal of the 90,000 due to the special enrollment period granted to others who experienced trouble signing up as the February 15 deadline approached.
    It is not clear from the reports if the 90,000 consumers terminated should never have been covered in the first place, or if they were simply unable to provide updated documentation of citizenship or immigration status to continue coverage in 2015. A response has not yet been received to an email inquiry to HHS regarding recovery of subsidies potentially paid incorrectly on behalf of these 90,000 consumers in 2014.

Note: A version of this post first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

No comments:

Post a Comment