Although Obamacare’s first enrollment deadline is only days away, Obama administration officials still haven’t given Iowa administrators complete data for 10,000 low-income residents, potentially leaving them without coverage on Jan. 1.
The communication failure includes 7,400 applications to cover 10,400 people who were directed to low-income programs Medicaid and Hawk-I, an Iowa program to insure children.
While HealthCare.gov preliminarily determined the Iowans were eligible for these programs, in order to be enrolled state officials need to review and process the potential beneficiaries.
Information on the 10,000 is currently incomplete and with the deadline for coverage just days away, Iowa state officials are concerned that they won’t get the information in time.
“Federal officials have indicated that they will send more complete information by the end of the month, and then the state will begin making determinations,” Amy Lorentzen McCoy, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Human Services, told the Des Moines Register Thursday.
Once Iowa officials determine whether applicants are eligible and finish enrolling them, the affected consumers will be insured reaching back to January 1 retroactively. But, McCoy told the Register, “If someone needs to see a health care provider during this interim period, we can’t guarantee coverage.”
It’s not clear how accurate HealthCare.gov’s preliminary determinations were or what will happen to applicants if they weren’t.
The glitch comes as Iowa is rushing to implement the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which Republican Gov. Terry Branstad agreed to last week. Under Iowa’s version of the expansion the state will extend Medicaid coverage to those from 100 to 133 percent of the federal poverty line, but the state will charge this subset of consumers a premium, limited to 2 percent of their income or less.
Branstad announced that up to 150,000 Iowans could be eligible for the new Medicaid set-up. Meanwhile, all applications HealthCare.gov has moved to Medicaid are affected by the misstep.
According to the Obama administration’s enrollment numbers for October and November, just 757 people in Iowa have selected a plan for private insurance coverage.
The Iowa Department of Human Services did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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