Eight Million people signed up through insurance exchanges for subsidized health insurance; now according to federal officials the eligibility of about 2 million people is in question. The government is asking consumers for additional documents to verify their income, citizenship, immigration status and Social Security numbers. People who fail to supply these details may lose their subsidized coverage and have to repay subsidies by next April.
Eight out of ten people who chose health plans through the market place were eligible for subsidies and income tax credits. Since June 1st the government has sent notices to thousands of people saying that, "the information in your application doesn't match what we found in other records."
"You need to follow up as soon as possible and provide more documents to make sure the marketplace has the correct information." The notice also says, "If you don't send the needed documents you risk losing your marketplace coverage or help you may be receiving to pay for such coverage."
Among the long list of documents the consumers need are copies of birth certificates, Social Security cards, high school diplomas, driver's licenses, pay stubs and voter registration cards.
"The law requires us to double- and triple-check this data," said Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, so "we're reaching out to consumers via mail, email and phone calls to encourage them to provide supporting documentation."
At times, after the documents have been sent to Serco's office in London, Ky, for verification, the government is unable to link the documents with the applications.
Ronald F. Pollack, the executive director of Families USA, said he believed that the government would not find major discrepancies in the amounts most consumers should receive in premium tax credits. He said, "We share concerns that the longer the process of verifying and resolving inconsistencies takes, the more some consumers will owe when they reconcile their tax returns."
The technical problems with HealthCare.gov were the reason why the company had to rely on manual processes. The system to scan the documents and transfer information automatically was not put in place by the government and Serco employees had to type in the information. This took an hour for tasks that could be completed in 5 minutes.
Robert Pear, June 2014
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)