Nearly a quarter of a million newly naturalized citizens or immigrants may lose their health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act at the end of the month.
The federal government is trying to verify people’s identities and immigration status, and Friday is the deadline to submit paperwork.
The National Immigration Law Center’s Jenny Rejeske says people are hustling to confirm their eligibility. But there are only so many ways they can reach out.
“People have mailed in their documents by certified mail, who have also tried to upload their documents online,” she says.
Despite that, Rejeske says, immigrants and naturalized citizens keep getting termination notices.
She says this is an old story for the Obama Administration.
“It’s just been part of the whole of array of technical problems that HealthCare.gov has faced,” she says.
Sonya Schwartz with the Georgetown Health Policy Institute also faults a lack of thorough planning. Why, she wonders, were most notices in English?
“It should have been a higher priority to think about how to communicate to all the different people in America, not just the people in English,” she says.
Apart from interrupting people’s health coverage, Schwartz says basic problems like this have a chilling effect on the millions who remain uninsured.
The federal government says it has whittled down immigration cases by nearly 75 percent.
Even if the deadline passes, Schwartz has a piece of advice for anyone who has received a notice:
“When in doubt, submit your paperwork again.”
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.