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Arminda Murillo, 54, reads a leaflet at a health insurance enrollment event in Cudahy, Calif., March 27, 2014. (REUTERS) Arminda Murillo, 54, reads a leaflet at a health insurance enrollment event in Cudahy, Calif., March 27, 2014. (REUTERS)  

Days Before Deadline, Almost 240,000 Still Haven’t Fixed Immigration Status For Obamacare

The Obama administration is days away from rescinding Obamacare coverage from hundreds of thousands of customers, as the vast majority of those with applications problems still haven’t cleared them up. 

The Department of Health and Human Services said last month that it would send out notices to 310,000 HealthCare.gov customers notifying them that there’s an inconsistency with their citizenship or immigration status and that the federal government needs more documentation or they’ll be kicked off their plans. Customers need to upload their proof of legal residence to HealthCare.gov by Sept. 5, or the administration will kick them out of their health care plan at the end of the month.

As of Tuesday, HHS says that it’s still sending final notices out to 239,000 of the 300,000, meaning by far most customers with problems still haven’t been able to resolve them, The Associated Press reports.

Part of the problem could be HealthCare.gov. Insurance agents and immigration experts have reported that their customers are struggling to upload the necessary documents to HealthCare.gov at all. (RELATED: Report: HealthCare.gov Still Doesn’t Work)

Some immigration advocates say that many of the notices may be ignored because customers don’t understand the importance or think they’ve already taken care of the problem. They’ve also hit the Obama administration for sending out notices in only two languages, English and Spanish. 

“People do not know what they say or that they’re important. Many have been putting them aside or throwing them away,” Philadelphia immigration advocate Amy Jones told The AP.

Florida has the largest number of customers with immigration problems at almost 100,000, but some working in the area believe the Obama administration’s letters are being ignored.

Vicki Tucci, a Palm Beach attorney, told The Associated Press that while she worked with thousands of Obamacare sign-ups during open enrollment, less than 20 clients have come back with questions about the notices. Tucci noted that some customers thought the letter was a scam and didn’t take any action. And among the clients that Tucci has helped, many have already sent in their documentation and it seemingly hasn’t been recorded.

If customers can’t find a way to submit their proof of citizenship or immigration status by Friday, they’ll lose their coverage. And not only are customers at risk for losing their health insurance, any who received premium subsidies may be required to pay back the federal government if their documentation is never received.

Customers who submit their documentation by the Friday deadline, but have not had it processed by federal officials, will remain covered as the Obama administration works its way through the backlog, according to The AP.

The administration has struggled to address millions of inconsistencies in Obamacare applications. The belated attempt to check citizenship and immigration status could cause the Obamacare enrollment tally to drop significantly.

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