Up to 30,000 Connecticut Obamacare customers may see their coverage cancelled or their subsidies cut at the end of the month, according to the exchange’s CEO.
Connecticut, which runs its own exchange, is just getting around to verifying income and citizenship information, which the federal government and other state-run exchanges did months ago. Access Health CT acting CEO Jim Wadleigh told The CT Mirror that federal officials had been pushing Connecticut to move forward with verifying customer information.
The cuts will affect over 10 percent of Connecticut residents who either purchased coverage on the exchange or signed up for Medicaid, through the state’s Medicaid expansion. 21,000 people on Medicaid and 9,000 with private insurance plans purchased on the Obamacare marketplace still have discrepancies in their applications.
About two-thirds of the problems were with reported income, meaning customers could lose their subsidies, and the remaining 10,000 inaccurate applications concerned citizenship and immigration status.
Customers are supposed to verify their financial information within 90 days of receiving their coverage, but state and federal Obamacare exchanges let the rules slide for the first year of the health-care law’s operation.
Wadleigh had a laundry list of excuses for not verifying eligibility until now, over a year since the exchange launched — Connecticut’s system wasn’t ready to verify customer eligibility information when it opened; it was waiting for federal guidance; and it simply didn’t want to be the first Obamacare exchange to kick customers out.
The Obama administration was forced to kick 115,000 people off HealthCare.gov-purchased insurance plans in September for citizenship and immigration problems and another 363,000 were at risk for losing premium subsidies for failing to correct financial information, and some may have subsequently dropped their coverage themselves.
“We feel as comfortable as can be that we’ve done a lot to reach out to these individuals, to try to get them to come back in and send us this information,” Wadleigh said. Access Health CT sent four letters, each in the language customers selected when they signed up on the exchange, to every customer who’s at risk for losing coverage, and called about half of the customers over the summer.
Several immigration groups have complained that outreach efforts about problems with Obamacare applications haven’t included enough languages and that those who don’t speak English or Spanish haven’t been given a proper chance to correct their coverage information. Two organizations, based in Illinois and Pennsylvania, have sued the Obama administration over the supposed slight. (RELATED: Immigrants Kicked Off Obamacare Now Suing Over Discrimination)