Posted: Aug 13, 2014 3:26 PM by Lee Anne Denyer, KOMU 8 Reporter
Updated: Aug 13, 2014 7:03 PM
COLUMBIA - Thousands of Missourians must submit proper documentation in order to keep their health insurance.
Applicants who receive financial assistance for their coverage under the Affordable Care Act have until September 5 to submit their citizenship and immigration paperwork to continue with their care.
New health care laws allow the government to give financial assistance to buy health insurance privately; however, applicants must be in the country legally and have the supporting documents to confirm so. In Missouri, 4,900 applicants have not submitted citizenship and immigration paperwork at this time.
To qualify, policyholders must show they have access to traditional insurance through employment, Medicare or the VA, as well as verify their income and immigration status.
"In other words, you have to be in the country legally in order to get federal assistance buying health insurance," said Jeremy Milarsky, a program manager at Primaris. Primaris is a company that helps people choose their health care plans and guides them through the application process.
"The federal government is very keen on verifying this," Milarsky said of the documentation. He said if someone is not in the country legally they cannot and do not qualify for financial assistance.
Missouri ranked 15th nationally on the list of states with people missing documentation. Texas and Florida had the highest number of applicants with missing identify verification paperwork. Milarsky said Missouri sees a large population of people new to the state and to the county. He said he believes some people missing paperwork may have language barriers who may need extra assistance navigating through the health insurance process. Notices are being sent in Spanish and Engish.
"This is a system that lends itself to being very organized and persistent," he said.
Milarsky said he recommends his clients keep all their paperwork, proof of enrollment, provider lists, plan identification number to avoid missing steps, like the identify verification paperwork.
"This is new stuff," he said. "These are people who in a lot of cases never had health coverage before, and hopefully that's one of the things we bring to the table is helping them."
Notice are being sent out this week to remind the Missourians missing forms to verify their identify for the assistance they're already receiving. Milarsky said there are several ways to do this.
• Upload documents to HealthCare.Gov that verify identity
• Hard copies can be mailed to processing center in London, Kentucky
"If you are one of those that haven't verified their immigration documents and September 5th goes then you may lose your coverage," he said. "It's very important to us that people know about this."
This week, companies like Primaris and agencies with the federal government are reaching out to applicants who are missing paperwork to ensure they aren't caught without health insurance. The health insurance marketplace has a toll free number that anyone can call 24/7. Resources can also be found at CoverMissouri.org, a website that provides resouces to local assistance providiers, and Healthcare.gov. Consumers may also call toll free at 1-800-318-2596 to see what documents they need to submit and see whether the Marketplace has received their information.