100K Could Lose Covered California Coverage in October
State officials say that about 100,000 California residents who purchased health insurance through Covered California could lose their coverage in October if they fail to verify their lawful presence in the U.S., the Los Angeles Times reports.
Covered California is the state's health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 8/21).
In July, HHS' Office of Inspector General released a report finding that the federal government and Covered California failed to properly verify eligibility for exchange enrollees, including by not always verifying U.S. citizenship
Last week, CMS sent letters to about 310,000 U.S. residents who enrolled in coverage through the federal insurance exchange warning that if they do no submit documents to verify their citizenship or immigration statuses by Sept. 5, they could lose the coverage they purchased through the federal health insurance exchange.
The move did not affect state-run exchanges. However, Covered California officials later said the state's insurance exchange would follow the federal government's example and require some enrollees to verify their lawful presence in the country in order to retain health insurance they obtained through the marketplace (California Healthline, 8/15).
Details of Verification Process
On Thursday, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said most of the approximately 100,000 affected consumers likely are legal residents. Lee added, "We are quite confident where people have not provided information it's not because they are not citizens. Rather, it's a challenge of getting the information to us" (Los Angeles Times, 8/21).
Information or documents that can be used to verify legal presence could include:
- Certificates of naturalization;
- Permanent residence cards;
- Social Security cards; and
- Other documents.
The documents can be uploaded through the exchange website or submitted to an enrollment counselor or insurance agent (California Healthline, 8/15).
California's exchange has already processed 600,000 of these documents, according to the Times.
Early next month, officials will send letters notifying the affected enrollees. Those who cannot verify their eligibility by late September or October will lose their coverage, according to Lee.
Carla Saporta, health policy director at the Greenlining Institute, urged officials to "make sure those notices go out in clear language" (Los Angeles Times, 8/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.