HHS Canceling Exchange Plans for 200K Over Unverified Legal Status
On Wednesday, HHS announced that it would terminate coverage at the end of the month for about 200,000 individuals who cannot provide sufficient documentation of their immigration or citizenship statuses, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to the Journal, the individuals are people who signed up for coverage during the initial open enrollment period and then had their coverage automatically renewed for 2015. Their coverage will be terminated on Feb. 28.
The individuals whose coverage will be terminated responded to the letters sent by the administration requesting additional documentation. However, the federal government found that the additional documents the individuals provided were not sufficient to conclude they were legally present in the U.S. (Radnofsky, Wall Street Journal, 2/11).
CMS Principal Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt said, "These are individuals who have gone through the process of attempting to confirm their citizenship or immigration status for their 2014 coverage and (despite) repeated outreach we've not received that documentation. So our requirements of enforcing the law will require us to remove these people from our coverage."
CMS spokesperson Aaron Albright said the individuals will be informed of the decisions in the coming days (O'Donnell/Ungar, USA Today, 2/11).
Meanwhile, about 112,000 individuals had their coverage terminated at the end of September 2014 because the federal government could not confirm whether they were legally present in the U.S. Those individuals had not responded to letters sent by the federal government requesting documents to verify their citizenship or immigration statuses.
Immigration Advocates Criticize Administration
The announcement comes as immigration advocates have criticized the Obama administration for issues individuals have had submitting documents to verify their legal status via the federal exchange. For example, advocates have said the federal government has not provided clear information on how individuals should confirm their immigration status and has provided the information in only English and Spanish and not in other languages (Wall Street Journal, 2/11).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.