Federal health officials said Monday that more than 100,000 immigrants who bought health-care plans through the federal insurance exchange will have their coverage cut off at the end of the month, because they failed to provide proof by the Sept. 5 deadline that their citizenship or immigration status makes them eligible for insurance on the marketplace.
Those individuals can still send in the needed information to the federal exchange and if they are found eligible, they will be able to regain coverage, officials said. They will be considered under a special category reserved for people who have experienced a major life change, such as having a baby or getting divorced or losing a job with health insurance.
Separately, about 363,000 consumers who have coverage could lose financial subsidies for their insurance premiums unless they clear up information about their incomes that differs from that on federal tax records.
If those individuals don’t provide updated income information by Sept. 30, federal health officials will adjust their premiums to “reflect what we have in our records,” said Andy Slavitt, principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which manages HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange. That means the federal government could reduce — or eliminate — those individuals’ federal insurance subsidies. It’s also possible that some consumers could get a bigger tax credit.
The CMS will start sending letters Monday to those individuals, notifying them that if they do not send in supporting documents by Sept. 30, their costs may change.
Nearly 9 in 10 people — 85 percent — of the 8 million who got coverage under the 2010 Affordable Care Act have received financial aid, which is based on income, household size and other factors. The government has said the average consumer is paying $82 a month for coverage that costs $346. That’s an average monthly subsidy of $264.
Immigrant advocacy groups have criticized the Obama administration because, they say, some consumers have sought to upload their documentation numerous times, but they have been hindered by technical problems with the exchange. But Slavitt said the administration has made repeated attempts to reach those consumers, often 10 to 12 times.
Federal officials said the numbers released Monday show the significant progress the administration has made in reducing the approximately 2 million cases of applications that were unable to be processed because of conflicting or inadequate information. The announcements only affect the three dozen states that rely on the federal exchange.
In May, officials said there were 966,000 individuals with citizenship- or immigration-data-related issues; by Monday, that number had been reduced to 115,000, they said. In situations involving income-related data discrepancies, officials said they have closed the cases of 467,000 households and are working to resolve another 430,000. That leaves about 279,000 households, representing 363,000 consumers, that haven’t sent in supporting information.
HealthCare.gov has had numerous technical problems since the marketplace opened Oct. 1. They have included issues with the online system designed to verify applicants’ identity, income and eligibility to buy a health-care plan.
The Affordable Care Act created insurance marketplaces that began providing coverage in January. The rules include who is eligible to buy a health-care plan and receive new federal subsidies. In addition to U.S. citizens, the marketplaces are open to people who are lawful permanent residents, refugees, foreigners who have been granted asylum and in a few other immigration categories.