Now that next year’s Obamacare open enrollment period is just two months away, federal officials are finally fixing problems in last year’s batch of applications — by kicking over 100,000 customers who weren’t eligible for exchange coverage off their plans, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Monday.
Out of close to 1 million Obamacare sign-ups whose citizenship and immigration information didn’t match current federal records, the Obama administration has addressed 851,000. The remaining 115,000 customers that never submitted documents proving their legal residence will be kicked off their coverage on Sept. 30. The administration did not admit how many “addressed” applications resulted in customers being kicked off coverage because their citizenship or immigration status disqualified them from Obamacare eligibility. (RELATED: Over 300,000 On The Brink Of Losing Obamacare Coverage)
While it’s finally making progress on citizenship problems in applications, the administration is just now getting around to sending out notices about income-related problems, which could significantly impact the price customers pay every month.
Today, CMS began sending out notices to HealthCare.gov customers who submitted income data on their application that did not match federal data and will require a response by Sept. 30. If customers don’t respond by the quick deadline, the cost of their health insurance will probably change, likely adding onto their costs.
“This may impact the cost of their monthly premium, deductibles, copays, and co-insurance, and even their tax bill or refund during filing season,” CMS officials warned in a statement.
At the end of May, CMS had documented income-related data problems for 1.6 million people out of HealthCare.gov’s 5.4 million sign-ups at the end of the first enrollment period. Months later, 363,000 individuals still have problems that could cause federal officials to cut their premium and cost-sharing subsidies.
The administration is sending out notices in English and Spanish, as it did with its immigration notices over the past several months, asking customers to submit additional documents via HealthCare.gov to verify their income information.
Consumer advocates have complained, however, that the ever-glitchy HealthCare.gov is making it impossible for customers to comply with the administration’s request for more documents. USA Today reported that federal officials were still telling customers who had already submitted their documents proving their lawful residence in the U.S. that they were lacking the proper documentation, calling their coverage into question. Other customers were unable to access their accounts at all, according to immigration law experts. (RELATED: Report: HealthCare.gov Still Doesn’t Work)
Customers with income-related problems won’t be at risk for losing their coverage entirely, but it’s possible they will owe a significant amount of money back to the federal government.
State-run exchanges, which account for 2.5 million Obamacare sign-ups through April, are charged with verifying their own customers’ application information with existing federal records.