Texas Community

Glitches Threaten ACA Coverage for Immigrants

Brooke Phillips, CWCMS
Editor | Shield HealthCare
09/09/14  7:17 PM PST
ACA Coverage for Immigrants

By , Texas Tribune Reporter

After receiving help from an Arabic translator, Iraqi refugee Mohammed al Mamoori signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace in March and says “he’s now on the safety side” of life in America. But he faces an upcoming deadline that could leave him without health insurance unless he is able to verify his citizenship status.

In July, al Mamoori, a delivery driver who is designated as a permanent resident, was among the hundreds of thousands of individuals across the country who received letters from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asking for proof of their citizenship or immigration status.

He has since uploaded documents to healthcare.gov to prove his residency. But with a fast-approaching Sept. 5 deadline, al Mamoori said he has not received any confirmation from federal officials that his citizenship has been verified and is uncertain whether he will retain his coverage next month.

The outstanding notices highlight the challenges of signing up individuals who have recently become U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Texas is home to a large immigrant population, particularly from Mexico and Central America, and takes in thousands of international refugees every year.

Health advocates helping the state’s minority population say they’ve been working to overcome language barriers, technical issues and low awareness of who is eligible to obtain coverage under the federal health law. With the first enrollment period closed, enrollees are now dealing with inconsistencies in their applications, which are detected when the marketplace website finds a data matching issue between the reported citizenship information and the information the government has on file for an individual.

Throughout the summer, HHS has resolved thousands of these inconsistencies. But last week, 52,700 Texas residents received final notices that they still need to verify their citizenship status — the highest count of final notices for any state except Florida.

Read Full Article from the Texas Tribune.