Federal health officials are warning hundreds of thousands of people who have bought health plans through the federal insurance exchange that their coverage will be cut off unless they quickly provide proof that their citizenship or immigration status makes them eligible to be insured through the new marketplace.
Health policy specialists and advocates for immigrants said that federal officials must exclude unqualified people from the insurance exchange but that the timing of the letters and their potential effects are worrisome.
“You feel very different about someone not getting coverage because they couldn’t give documentation versus someone getting kicked off who’s had coverage for months,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-policy organization. “That’s a function of how chaotic the systems and the enrollment process have been.”
Leonardo Cuello, the National Health Law Program’s director of health policy, praised HHS for having repeatedly tried to contact people with citizenship and immigration issues and for resolving nearly half of those cases in recent months. Still, he said, “it’s the ones being terminated you lose sleep over.”
Cuello said that some people don’t understand the notices, not realizing that documents they uploaded electronically or mailed months ago never arrived. Others have moved, did not receive previous notices and will not receive the new letter. And some speak languages other than English and Spanish and, with merely a tag line saying that help is available in their native language, will not understand the letter’s urgency, he said. Read the full article here. »