Hundreds of thousands of Obamacare consumers risk losing coverage

The Obama administration this week began sending notices to hundreds of thousands of Obamacare consumers, warning them that if they don't verify their citizenship or immigration status, they risk losing their insurance coverage next month.

Approximately 310,000 people have yet to respond to prior requests for documents verifying that information, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said in a release. If they don't submit the right documentation by Sept. 5, they're now being warned, their coverage will end on Sept. 30.

The issue stems from Obamacare applications in which a person's Social Security or Permanent Resident Card number is incomplete or different than what the government has on file. Already, the federal government has resolved about 450,000 cases of such inconsistencies, and it's in the process of resolving about 210,000 more.

Still, 310,000 people have not responded, even though the federal government has attempted to contact them five to seven times. The notices are going out just to consumers on the federally-run marketplace. States that are running their own marketplaces are handling immigration and citizenship discrepancies separately.

The notices being sent out this week will be in English and Spanish. About half of the notices are going to residents in Texas and Florida, both of which have large Hispanic populations.

Given that Latinos have had some of the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S., the Obama administration made a concerted effort to reach out to Hispanic communities and inform them of their health coverage options. However, the administration said in May that just under 11 percent of people who have signed up for health insurance on the federally-run Obamacare marketplace are Latino.

Immigrants who are in the country illegally are barred from the Obamacare marketplaces, which deterred some immigrant families from getting insurance, the Associated Press reported last year.

Some legal immigrants were concerned that if they signed up on the government-run marketplace, their undocumented relatives could be targeted for deportation. The administration attempted to ease those concerns, promising that information obtained through insurance paperwork would not be used by immigration authorities.

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