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Coverage under ACA may end abruptly for 94,000 Floridians

It may look as if the federal government is a classic example of one hand not knowing what the other is doing, but 310,000 people now know or will soon know differently. It turns out that their Affordable Care Act applications or enrollment records do not agree with the records of the Citizenship and Immigration Services division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The ACA only covers people who are in the country legally.

Authorities contacted those individuals -- about 94,000 live in Florida -- over the summer to tell them they had until Sept. 5 to provide proof of their legal immigration status or U.S. citizenship. In this state alone, 35,000 did not meet the deadline. As a result, their health insurance coverage will end on Sept. 30.

Maybe. According to the Miami Herald, an administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that the unofficial deadline is Sept. 30. Anyone who misses that deadline will lose coverage.

CMS maintains that the agency has made "multiple outreach efforts" to the individuals in question as workers try to clear up any residency questions. Immigration advocates have offered a few reasons the target population may not be responding.

For instance, there may be a language problem. Or, the paperwork may be en route or lost somewhere in the system. Advocates say some clients have reported system glitches, too -- and when dealing with the federal marketplace, computer glitches are not that surprising. There may also be a fear of discovery: While the insured may be in the country legally, someone else in the house may not be.

The priority for advocates is to get the necessary information from the insureds so there is no gap in coverage. If an insured has not understood the communications regarding the documentation, he or she may not understand the communication regarding the termination of coverage. That could lead to more than a few problems down the road for the insured, the provider, the insurance company and CMS.

Sources:

Miami Herald, "Florida leads nation in unverified ACA applicants," Nick Madigan, Sept. 16, 2014

CBS Local (Miami), "Florida Immigrants Could Lose Insurance Coverage If They Don't Act Soon," Sept. 2, 2014

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