Paperwork complications may undermine the Affordable Care Act

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their subsidies or policies under the Affordable Care Act because of paperwork problems, according to the Associated Press, and advocates fear those issues could undermine the success of the ACA.

Aboout 470,000 people had coverage terminated through Sept. 30 last year because of unresolved documentation issues involving citizenship and immigration, the article says. During the same time, more than 1 million households had their financial assistance adjusted due to income discrepancies. As FierceHealthPayer previously reported, about 43,000 Affordable Care Act enrollees have lost their premium tax credits because they failed to file a tax return for 2014, meaning they are paying full price for their health plans. 

"When people get that bill for a full-price plan, they panic and they cancel the insurance," Elizabeth Colvin, of Austin-based Foundation Communities, told the AP. Another expert, Rachel Klein of Families USA, said she is worried those canceled plans can destabilize the ACA marketplaces.

Taxpayers this year may be even more confused because of an expected delay in receiving ACA tax forms, notes an article from Kaiser Health News. This is the first year that employers, insurers and government programs are required to send consumers a form that reports whether they offered or provided health insurance that was considered affordable and adequate under the law, yet many consumers may not receive the forms until shortly before the April 15 tax filing deadline.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell recently acknowledged that the system is challenging for consumers who are eligible for benefits, the AP article adds, and said HHS will review improvements to in the upcoming months to see if they helped cut down on problems.

To learn more:
- read the AP article
- here is the Kaiser Health News article