Insurance navigators still working as 300,000 questioned

Terri Gant’s role as an insurance navigator helping people through the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace never really ended.

Months after open enrollment ended and months before the next one begins, she is still enrolling people and answering questions. For 20,000 people in Georgia and hundreds of thousands of others nationwide, that might be a good thing because they could lose the coverage they gained.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sent out letters this week to 310,000 people, including 20,000 in Georgia and 93,800 in Florida, that their immigration or citizenship status on their applications does not match that already on file. Those notified have until Sept. 5 to respond or their coverage will end Sept. 30.

Gant said that might be why the calls have picked up this week.

“We’ve never stopped getting calls and visits (at Medical Associates Plus at Belle Terrace),” she said Friday. The marketplace allows a special enrollment period for people who have sudden life changes, such as losing a job or insurance through a job, a divorce, or a new baby.

“Most of the time it’s lost insurance,” Gant said.

Anne Fulcher, a certified application counselor for Rural Health Services Inc. in Clearwater, said she did not expect to hear from the 4,800 in South Carolina who got the notice.

“If their green card and/or their Social (Security number) did not match up, we wouldn’t even enroll them,” she said. “It’s all in the interview process, and we don’t like to fill in a slot if we know they won’t match up.”

HHS said it had 970,000 of those data match-up problems in May and has since closed 450,000, with 210,000 in progress. It is still receiving up to 60,000 documents a day, according to a news release.

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