More than 400K lose insurance due to citizenship issues

Under the Affordable Care Act, only citizens and legal U.S. residents are entitled to coverage through insurance markets that offer subsidized policies. So with a limited window to resolve documentation isues related to citizenship and immigration that went into effect this year, more than 400,000 people have lost coverage under the healthcare reform law, according to the Associated Press.

That is a big jump, as it's almost four times as many people who had their insurance canceled last year. The difference this year is the 95-day timeframe for applicants to resolve documentation questions. In the first year of the healthcare law's coverage expansions, there was no time limit.

Critics say the government's system for verifying eligibility for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance is flawed and that the majority of the 423,000 people who lost their coverage are legally entitled to benefits.

Under fire from some Republicans, the Obama administration is working to ensure only people legally entitled to benefits receive them. "In 2015, we moved to the timeline of about three months, so consumers need to act quickly to submit supporting documentation," Ben Wakana, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, tells the AP.

In November 2014, the president's executive order on immigration reform also stopped short of offering health coverage to individuals in the U.S. illegally.

According to recent enrollment statistics, almost 10 million people have signed up for health insurance through the ACA. Coverage expansion has also extended to the Hispanic community, with its uninsured rate down to 28.5 percent as of mid-August, according to government data. Yet this demographic remains one of the most underserved by both providers and payers.

To learn more:
- read the Associated Press report

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