The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

June 5, 2014

Application 'inconsistencies' under health law

(Continued)

"The fact that a consumer has an inconsistency on their application does not mean there is a problem on their enrollment," said Bataille. "Most of the time what that means is that there is more up-to-date information that they need to provide to us." For example, for people applying for coverage this year, the latest income information on record with the IRS dates to 2012, in most cases.

The May 8 document provided to the AP said that 2.1 million people enrolled through the new health insurance exchanges were "affected by one or more inconsistency" as of the end of April.

The number of people affected could well be higher. According to the administration, the 2 million figure reflects only consumers who signed up through the federally administered HealthCare.gov website and call centers. The government signed up about 5.4 million people, while state-run websites signed up an additional 2.6 million.

The exchanges offer subsidized private coverage to lower-income and to middle-class people who have no health care on the job. The sliding-scale subsidies are based on income and family size and are also affected by where a person lives. Under the law, only citizens and legal immigrants are entitled to subsidized coverage.

Because the subsidies are tax credits, the IRS can deduct any overpayments to a consumer from that taxpayer's refund the following year. Conversely, if the consumer got too small a credit, that person would be due a bigger refund.

Updated numbers provided by Bataille indicate that the total number of people affected remains about the same as reflected in the document. About 1.2 million have discrepancies related to income; 505,000 have issues with immigration data and 461,000 have conflicts related to citizenship information.

The law contemplated there would be verification problems with the new program, and it provided for a 90-day window to clear up discrepancies. During this time, a consumer's coverage is not affected. Under the law, the administration has the option to extend the 90-day period for this year.

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