Deadline to clear up health law eligibility nears

Hundreds of thousands of consumers risk losing insurance unless they resolve issues about their citizenship, immigration status
Associated Press
Aug 13, 2014

Hundreds of thousands of people who signed up under the new health care law risk losing their taxpayer-subsidized insurance unless they act quickly to resolve questions about their citizenship or immigration status. The government warned on Tuesday that they have just over three weeks to show that they're eligible.

Of the 8 million people who signed up for private coverage through President Barack Obama's law, more than 2 million at one point had discrepancies of some sort that clouded their eligibility. That number has been greatly reduced — but the remaining cases are proving difficult to untangle.

People living in the country illegally are not allowed to get coverage. Officials at the Health and Human Services Department said letters are being sent to about 310,000 people with documentation issues involving citizenship or immigration.

The letters will notify enrollees with unresolved issues that they still need to upload their documents to the HealthCare.gov website by Sept. 5, or mail them in. Otherwise, their coverage will end on Sept. 30.

Many haven't responded to repeated outreach efforts. Hispanics, who historically have lagged in health insurance coverage, may account for a big share of the group.

Indeed, two states with large Latino populations top the list of unresolved cases. Florida has 93,800 cases, while Texas has 52,700. Georgia, Virginia and Pennsylvania round out the top five. The letters are being sent in English and Spanish.

Some supporters of the law worried that eligible consumers might lose coverage due to record-keeping problems on the government's part, or because of something as mundane as letters getting lost in the mail.

"Many of these people have issues because government files are incomplete," said Ron Pollack, executive director of the advocacy group Families USA. "Many may feel that they have fully complied with what is necessary to get health coverage."

The number of problem cases was a lot larger only a few months ago, prompting criticism from congressional Republicans that the administration was signing up people ineligible under the law.

In May, there were nearly 970,000 people with citizenship or immigration problems. About half those cases have now been closed, officials said, and another 20 percent are being worked on actively. Previously, officials have said that the overwhelming majority of cases are resolved in favor of the enrollee.

The new policy affects the 36 states where the federal government has taken the lead in running online insurance markets created by the law. It's unclear how it will apply in places like California and New York, which are running their own insurance exchanges.

Consumers who have unresolved discrepancies over their incomes will get notices at a later date.

The new health law provides subsidized coverage to people with no access to health insurance on the job. More than 80 percent of those signed up are getting subsidies to help with their premiums and, in some cases, their copays and deductibles as well.

But those taxpayer subsidies are contingent on meeting a host of requirements. The amount of a consumer's premium tax credit can vary by income, family size, hometown and other factors. That can make getting covered through the law feel somewhat like doing your taxes.

The letters that started going out Tuesday won't be the final attempt to reach those with unresolved issues. HHS will try to contact each consumer two more times by phone and once via email. The administration is also working with local organizations to try to reach people directly in their homes.

Consumers can also contact HealthCare.gov's call center at 1-800-318-2596 to see what documents they need to submit and see whether their information has been received.

The notices affect this year's coverage only.

The open enrollment period for this year is over. Open enrollment season for 2015 coverage doesn't start until Nov. 15. At that point, consumers will be able to renew or make changes in their coverage, and new customers can find out whether there's a plan that's right for them.

Under the law, most Americans are required to have health insurance or risk fines.

Comments

sugar

Another AP article that refuses to site the ugly numbers of the failing obamacare. Such phrases like " the overwhelming amount" is really misleading, in who's estimation, and what percentage is an overwhelming amount? 51%, 75%?
The fact that there were so many questionable policies handed out is troubling, gov and it's friends always forget who supplies the money it uses to fund it's idiotic, corrupt programs.

Factitious

You've got everything wrong. Many people who formerly had useless policies, that are now illegal, today have ones that actually pay benefits and are a much better deal. Imperfect as it is, Obamacare is a big improvement and even Republicans would prefer you shut up about it because you're just reminding everyone how wrong they were. Try to get caught up.

Donegan

If the new tax is so great why is Obama holding up half of the bill and they had to bribe unions and others with waivers?
It is people like you who have no sense of reality. The healthcare bill does nothing to improve healthcare. It improves the profit of the insurance companies.

The Big Dog's back

Where's your proof done again, and don't put up some right wingnut site.

Donegan

http://news.msn.com/us/federal-g...
http://obamacare-vs-medicare.com...
http://www.usnews.com/news/artic...
I will help you because you seem to be too stupid to get my name right i am positive Google is too complex for you. (Not to mention you still believe Obama)Plenty of proof for those who pay attention, Obviously that does not include you. Why can't you do a little research on your own? Other than your lazy and pretty dimwitted i see no reason you cannot do these things yourself.

The Big Dog's back

done again, your sites show where there are some delays because the private sector wasn't ready. Should they have just forced it on them? What's your point about the delays?

Donegan

Delays? He put off parts of the law that will cost him votes because the new tax is crap. It harms more than it helps and he knows it. Like i said before if it is so damn good why the waiver bribes and delays?
Oh and he has held back parts of the new tax ILLEGALLY. No president has the power NOT to enforce congresses demands. It is his job to enforce not hinder the law. So YES you and your god wants to force people by having this law, Then show EVERYONE what you morons think is good legislation then let the chips fall where they may.
Weird how you excuse the obstruction by your god to stop his own namesake from being fully implemented? Oh yeah hypocrites do that.

deertracker

Do you ever get tired of ranting about the President? It's the law, held up by SCOTUS. Get over it already! How does this law negatively affect you? It's not perfect but nothing is! This whole law is a republiCON ideal. If the CONS HAD ACTUALLY HELPED CRAFT THE LAW IT MAY BE EVEN BETTER. Stop being part of the problem. Offer some solutions if you are so concerned!

Blackberry Phale

Do you ever get tired of licking the Barry's boots?

Obamacare is all about cost-shifting and is more a political and social program disguised as insurance.

Jesus, if you can't figure out what a mess this Obamacare is, you are dumber than a box of rocks!

Donegan

Why are you defending the obstructionist of the new tax? I thought you libtards were against obstruction of Obamadaontcare?
Oh yeah i am talking to another hypocrite that was all for rushing the bill through till his god actually read the thing and got scared he couldn't keep his morons voting for him if it was completely implemented.
Here's a solution for you. Remove the libtards from power and get representatives in office that actually represent the people and know to read the bills before passing them. (I am not a repub so you can take those with you too. Dem/repubs are practically the same anyways. Hell throw them ALL in jail for all i care. even your god.)

anthras

Re:"You've got everything wrong. Many people who formerly had useless policies, that are now illegal, today have ones that actually pay benefits and are a much better deal."

I had Anthem Insurance for years and once I paid my $300 deductible they always paid the rest I had no additional payments for all of my hospital care needs. I did have a myocardial infraction, had two total hip replacements, and other minor things. The hospital was always paid in full, I paid a $20 copay for a doctor's office visit and a $20 copay for drugs and as I said the hospital bills were paid in full. Many persons employed today also have very good health coverage via their employer as Obamacare hasn't taken over in that area yet and won't until after the elections .

I did copy the below info from U.S.News and World Report and as you can see many of the top hospitals will accept insurance from just one or two companies operating under Obamacare, Better hope if you have a heart attack in front of the Cleveland Clinic that you have Medical Mutual of Ohio

Americans who sign up for Obamacare will be getting a big surprise if they expect to access premium health care that may have been previously covered under their personal policies. Most of the top hospitals will accept insurance from just one or two companies operating under Obamacare, Watchdog.org reports. The organization looked at the top 18 hospitals nationwide as ranked by U.S. News and World Report for 2013-2014, contacting each hospital to determine their contracts and talking to several insurance companies as well. Here's what they found (for more details, read Top Hospitals Opt Out of Obamacare).
Rank* Hospital Insurance Accepted**
1 Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore All insurance companies, per state law
2 Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston All insurance companies, per state law
3 Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Blue Cross (silver plan only)
4 Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio Medical Mutual of Ohio
5 UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net
6 Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago Land of Lincoln, Blue Cross
7 New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell UnitedHealthCare, EmblemHealth, Aetna
8 UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco Anthem Blue Cross
9 Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston All insurance companies, per state law
10 University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, UPMC Health Plan, Health America
11 Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Aetna Independence, Blue Cross
12 Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C. Coventry Health Care, Blue Cross
13 Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles Health Net
14 NYU Langone Medical Center, New York UnitedHealthCare, Affinity Health System, Fidelis Care
15 Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University, St. Louis Coventry Health Care
16 Indiana University Health Academic Health Center, Indianapolis MDWise
17 Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia Independence Blue Cross, Aetna
18 University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland Anthem Blue Cross, HealthSpan, SummaCare, SuperMed

*Source: U.S. News & World Report

coasterfan

Sugar: Obamacare isn't failing, and everything Republicans predicted about it didn't come true: There are no death panels. After the poor rollout, signup exceeded the goal by more than a million people. Enough young people signed up to make the risk pool do-able, enabling prices to remain low/competitive, just as the law is designed to do, and the vast majority (more than 90%) did pay their premium.

It IS working especially well in states where the legislators WANT it to work, such as Ohio and Kentucky. Perhaps you missed the feature article in this week's TIME Magazine on how well Obamacare is working in Kentucky? I'm sure this must be an embarrassment to Mitch McConnell.

Furhermore, this article is a sign that Obamacare IS working. There are a built-in set of checks and balances to assure that only legalized Americans receive coverage, and that's exactly what the article is reporting: illegals are going to be denied Obamacare. Preventing fraud saves our tax dollars, silly.

sugar

Bottom line: if obamacare were working it would be splashed from one headline to another. instead AP does a piece that tries minimize the deleterious effects, by siting vague counts and huge glitches spun to look minimal.
What Democrat's are running on Obamacare in 2014?
What Democrat's are running with Obama on anything?
Even Dana Milbanks realizes Obama and his plans have failed as he sites" the world burns, Obama golfs"...
Hillahag has actually blamed Obama for Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya. You see she was never really "on board" with the regimes foreign policy.
Obama is a has been, better get on the Hillahag train coaster, you're a day late and a dollar short.

deertracker

You are just negative nancy. You have to be a miserable person. Every comment of yours on every article is nothing but pure negativity. That has to be tiresome.

The Big Dog's back

Time to quit responding to him deer.

Blackberry Phale

Typical of a lefty.

sugar

That's the new meme here, lol, I'm mean, negative and "friendless". Most people, especially leftists have an aversion to honesty, blatant, shine the light on it honesty. It makes them extremely uncomfortable and threatened.
What do people who feel threatened do? They attack, they lash out to make themselves feel less insecure.
They're going to, what was it? "Stop responding to him"? As if they were addressed. Too comical.

Nor'easter

Illegal immigrants are not going to respond because they are illegal. Time to sweep the country and deport those who are here illegally. It will reduce unemployment and might discourage illegal entry.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Nor'easter, but it's disappointing a free person would care so little about the freedoms and welfare of others. It seems anti-American and anti-freedom. The children at the border news coverage also seems to have lost the "crisis" status it should probably never have had. The "Deport Now" crowd likely would be making "Kill the children now" signs for protest rallies if the politically charged, self-serving rhetoric had continued without interruption. 

jibber jabber

Good going, they need to leave the country, go back home and do it legal.

BESIDEs, if the United States is ONE of the RICHEST countries in the world, WHY o' WHY do all them POOR countries have better Health Care than America????

SamAdams

jibber jabber, the poor countries don't have better healthcare than America. Our healthcare is still just about the best in the world which is why people from all sorts of foreign countries -- rich and poor alike -- come here for treatment. Our healthcare is, however, expensive. That (theoretically) was what Obamacare was supposed to address. Surprise, surprise: It's not.

Factitious

Yep, we're still paying to much, but we're getting a somewhat better deal under Obamacare. At least the old ripoff policies are now illegal. Single-payer would be better.

SamAdams

If you think we're getting a better deal under Obamacare, you're in the minority. MOST are paying substantially more for higher deductible/higher co-pay coverage. All that free stuff? Turns out it ain't free! Surprise, surprise AGAIN!

The Big Dog's back

And your proof of this sam? I'm paying less and getting more.

Donegan

You are paying less and getting more because you are a leech that refuses to pay his own way.

Factitious

Scratch the surface and you see that the former, cheaper policies were virtually worthless and paid few if any meaningful benefits. They were a ripoff. Those people who are paying a little more today are getting a policy that actually pays, and are virtually assured a better value, and not just a little bit. That's a better deal by any standard.

Others could not afford non-ripoff coverage, and now they have good coverage. That's a better deal.

Insurers can no longer drop people who paid for years the moment they get sick, or engage in other dishonest and unethical practices. That's a better deal.

Insurers who committed theft through deception have improved their behaviour or are out of business. That's a better deal.

There's room for improvement, but national healthcare has proved its value. Get over it.

The Big Dog's back

sam, please document who comes here for treatment and which facilities they use.

coasterfan

It's not much of a compliment for Sam to say that we have better health coverage than countries who lack basic sanitational services. We are the only First World country that doesn't have Universal health coverage for everyone. Obamacare is the first step in 50 years to address that glaring problem.

Conservatives continue to insist that Obamacare isn't working and isn't bringing prices down, but it absolutely is doing just that, especially in states where the legislators WANT it to work, like Kentucky. Yet we continue to get inundated with unsubstantiated vague attacks from the Right, and GOP legislators are still doing their darndest to turn Americans away from getting coverage.

Recently, a Florida congressman set up a news coverage to supposedly expose Obamacare. One by one, he went through his handpicked audience of septegenarians, hoping they would say their insurance rates had gone up. One by one, on camera, they reported just the opposite. For 19 of 21, their rates actually had gone down, and the other 2 had far better coverage now than previously.

THAT is the real story of the ACA, the one that the Right doesn't want you to know about. Everything they predicted about Obamacare has been wrong, and has been proven wrong, yet they STILL continue to say the law is a failure.

Ask Kentuckians if they think the law is a failure (see TIME magazine feature article on this very subject this week). Mitch McConnell can't even bring up the issue on the campaign trail without coming across as a total idiot out of touch with what Kentuckians want- which, of course, he is...

These are people who are actually campaigning on a promise to DENY/REMOVE healthcare coverage from Americans. They believe that America, instead of offering a system like Obamacare, in which everyone must pay for all or part of their health care (forcing everyone to be responsible for their own healthcare costs), we should keep them uninsured, so that the REST of us can pay for their medical expenses. If their mindset sounds idiotic, it's because it is.

Contango

Re: "We are the only First World country that doesn't have Universal health coverage for everyone."

The term is "developed" country not "First World". Why the caps?

Name the other developed countries that have single payer universal coverage with such an ethnically, racially and culturally diverse population of 300 + million.

Not to worry; the entitlement spending on the baby boomers' health and welfare benefits will bankrupt this country.

deertracker

Semantics pooh.

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