The Obama administration bragged about its enrollment numbers in the compulsory ObamaCare system, but the lack of eligibility-confirmation systems in the exchanges may take a big bite out of those numbers shortly. Just how big a bite is anyone’s guess, however, with warnings to multiple groups that either their coverage or their subsidies may stop at any time. Last night, HHS warned that 115,000 people currently covered by ObamaCare might lose their insurance thanks to immigration issues:
The Obama administration on Monday said 115,000 people in 36 states could lose their private health insurance under Obamacare after Sept. 30, because of unresolved data problems involving their citizenship or immigration status. …
Under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, people who lack insurance can be eligible for coverage if their immigration status is in order, while federal subsidies can be available depending on an applicant’s annual income.
More than 8 million people enrolled in 2014 coverage through the federal and state marketplaces. But about 2.5 million submitted applications with missing entries or data that did not match federal records.
Officials said those with outstanding issues have failed to provide accurate information about their situations or have simply not responded to repeated efforts to reach them. Critics have also blamed problems on federal data collection systems including the federal marketplace website, HealthCare.gov.
The next group of people won’t lose their coverage, but could lose the subsidies that help pay for it. This group didn’t get their income levels verified, on which those subsidies are calculated. That verification was supposed to be built into the exchanges at both the state and federal levels, but HHS didn’t get around to building the back-end systems for those functions until, er … well, they still haven’t built them:
The Obama administration announced Monday it will cut off tax subsidies to about 360,000 people if they do not offer proof of their income in the next two weeks.
Officials will send final notices this week to individuals who signed up for ObamaCare with income levels that didn’t match government records. The announcement marks the administration’s first move to tackle the politically charged issue of income verification, which has remained a key GOP argument against the healthcare reform law.
So the two figures put together add up to 478,000, right? Not quite. The actual number for immigration status issues is much higher than the 115,000 who face immediate action:
The administration had already warned that it would end coverage for the 966,000 individuals whose immigration status could not be confirmed by the government.
For that matter, it’s much higher for those with income verification issues, too:
A total of 1.2 million people have had income inconsistencies since the launch of ObamaCare last year. About 800,000 people have since submitted verification. The federal government is still missing paperwork for nearly a half-million people who signed up for insurance over the last year.
It’s not clear from these reports whether the 800,000 have successfully verified their income levels — or just have submitted paperwork. The warnings are based on the lack of submission, not final decisions, so it may yet be possible for a substantial number of those 800,000 to lose their subsidies as well. That wouldn’t strip them of coverage directly, but unless they could make up the difference with their insurers, anyone losing those subsidies will shortly find themselves among the ranks of the uninsured.
So just how many are at risk? Almost half a million are in immediate risk of getting the boot from ObamaCare, with another 850,000 pending on immigration issues and potentially as many as 800,000 more on income level verification issues. Put all those together, and it comes to a 30% failure rate for ObamaCare’s first enrollment period, and potentially a massive waste of taxpayer money in subsidies. Most of these won’t be resolved until after we go through another enrollment period, again without the back-end systems that were supposed to keep this from happening at all.