New government procedures have caused more than 400,000 immigrants to lose healthcare coverage they received under Obamacare this year, according to the Associated Press.
The change in procedure shortens the timeframe during which foreign-born citizens can resolve eligibility issues, which has caused 423,000 people to lose their state-sponsored benefits.
The healthcare law provides a 95-day window for citizens to resolve documentation issues and remain eligible for coverage. The time-marker was not in place in 2014, because that was the first year of HealthCare.gov’s expanded coverage.
A total of 109,000 people lost coverage due to immigration-related issues in 2014.
The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) believes the vast majority of those who have had their healthcare policies terminated are legal U.S. residents, because illegal immigrants would fear alerting authorities by repeatedly applying for benefits for which they are not eligible.
“Somebody who is trying to submit documents over and over … is someone who believes they have an eligible immigration status,” NILC policy analyst Angel Padilla said.
Padilla said the 95-day window is not problematic in and of itself, but people applying for coverage are unsure about which documents to fill out.
“If it was clearer what the consumer needed to do, we wouldn’t have the numbers that we have,” he said.
The total only includes those who have lost coverage in the federal health insurance market. It does not factor in residents who have lost their coverage in states that run their own exchanges, including immigrant-rich California and New York.