The federal government sent urgent notices to 310,000 people who obtained Obamacare coverage through HealthCare.gov asking them to provide "citizenship or immigration data" or lose their healthcare by the end of next month.
The Department of Health and Human Services said the cases involved
a "data matching issue" whereby the information provided by consumers is "incomplete or different than the information the government has on file."
The issue could be discrepancies in Social Security or green card numbers — and it doesn't mean that individuals might not be eligible for Obamacare, the agency said.
The request for the data has nothing to do with whether consumers are born in America or not, an HHS official told Newsmax.
The information must be submitted by Sept. 5, or coverage will end on Sept. 30. HealthCare.gov serves 36 states.
"We want as many consumers as possible to remain enrolled in marketplace coverage, so we are giving these individuals a last chance to submit their documents before their coverage through the marketplace will end," said Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The agency's move comes after health officials have tried to reach such applicants "five to seven times — via mail, phone, and email" to get the correct information. These individuals "have not responded" to HHS requests for the data.
The agency had 970,000 such cases in May — and about 450,000 have since been closed, and another 210,000 are pending. HHS receives as many as 60,000 such cases every day.
The agency said it is planning more follow-ups by phone and email and will undertake local outreach efforts. The notices are being sent in both English and Spanish.
"Since this is an urgent matter, we are activating our networks on the ground to reach people directly in the communities where they live," Tavenner said in the statement. "Whether it is online, via our call center, or with one of our local partners, consumers will have a number of ways to find the help they need to continue their coverage."
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