Federal health officials are warning almost 94,000 people in Florida that they must prove they are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants in order to remain eligible for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
The targeted consumers are part of a group of 310,000 newly insured people around the country who have not yet responded to entreaties from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide documents that would establish their claim of legal residency, a condition of eligibility for the tax-supported healthcare marketplaces.
Over the last few weeks, HHS officials have used letters, e-mails and telephone calls to ask enrolees to send supporting documents so they can keep their coverage. A new round of communications is being launched, officials said, and if policy holders do not respond by Sept. 5, their coverage will expire at the end of September.
“We want as many consumers as possible to remain enrolled in marketplace coverage, so we are giving these individuals a last chance to submit their documents before their coverage through the marketplace will end,” said Marilyn B. Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
In May alone, there were unresolved questions about the legal status of 970,000 people nationwide, officials said in a conference call on Tuesday. About 450,000 of those cases have been resolved, while an additional 210,000 are being investigated after the consumers provided documents. The remaining 310,000 are the subject of the new outreach effort, which includes letters in English and Spanish.
More than 8 million people have enrolled in insurance plans under the ACA.
An official with the Health Council of South Florida, part of a network of 11 not-for-profit agencies that seek to improve access to healthcare, said representatives of the agencies would be visiting libraries, community health centers and other locations to get out the word about the eligibility requirements.
Consumers whose policies are being reviewed for questions about their income will be asked for more information at a later date, officials said.
The outreach effort announced on Tuesday applies only to states in which the insurance marketplaces are run by the federal government, such as Florida.