Obamacare Sign-Up Errors Put Some of 2 Million Enrollees in Jeopardy

Jun 4, 2014 4:27pm
GTY healthcare gov jtm 140604 16x9 608 Obamacare Sign Up Errors Put Some of 2 Million Enrollees in Jeopardy

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Obamacare enrollment flap is far from over.

Some of the more than 2 million Americans who signed up for insurance through HealthCare.gov could be at risk of losing their coverage or be forced to repay part of all of their premium subsidy because of discrepancies with their applications, according to a government document obtained by the Associated Press and confirmed to ABC News by an administration official.

That’s roughly one in four applicants overall.

In many cases consumers provided identity and income information that conflicts with what the government has on record, the Department of Health and Human Services said today.

The result: some Americans may have received greater subsidies than merited or were allowed to purchase plans for which they were ineligible. HHS says it’s now “double- and triple-checking” with applicants to verify their information.

“Those consumers were still able to enroll in Marketplace coverage — as provided for in the law — but, when they enrolled, they received a notice instructing them to submit a little bit more information,” HHS spokeswoman Julie Bataille explained today in a blog post.

Where a consumer fails to provide the follow-up information, or reveals that they have erred, the policy will be revoked and a request for subsidy repayment will be made, Bataille said. She said the agency is scrambling to follow up with each applicant, commonly requesting copies of paystubs as proof of income or birth certificates to verify the correct spelling of a name.

“We are working with consumers every day to make sure individuals and families get the tax credits and coverage they deserve and that no one receives a benefit they shouldn’t,” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesman Aaron Albright told ABC News.

“Two million consumers are not at risk of losing coverage — they simply need to work with us in good faith to provide additional information that supports their application for coverage and we are working through these cases expeditiously,” Albright said.

The average family of four was asked to electronically submit 21 different pieces of information relating to identity, age, income eligibility, etc., when applying for a plan under the Affordable Care Act, according to HHS.

“Sometimes a name or data point didn’t match up right away,” HHS officials said, due to a recently changed or lost a job, for example. Officials claim the vast majority of those with discrepancies on their applications will ultimately keep the coverage they purchased.

 

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