Hand Out

August 29, 2014 | 12:03 PM | By state of health
By Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News

Consumers getting government subsidies for health insurance who are later found ineligible for those payments will owe the government, but not necessarily the full amount, according to the Treasury Department.

The clarified rule could affect some of the 300,000 people enrolled in a health plan through healthcare.gov. They face a Sept. 5 deadline to submit additional documents to confirm their citizenship or immigration status, and also apply broadly to anyone ultimately deemed ineligible for subsidies.

California runs its own exchange and is on a different timeline. Covered California will send notices starting next week to 100,000 people affected. They have until September 30 to respond.

First reported by the newsletter Inside Health Policy on Thursday, the clarification worries immigration advocates, who say many residents don’t know about the requirement. If people do not provide the necessary information, they could be deemed ineligible for subsidies and lose their coverage.

If found ineligible, residents could owe thousands of dollars.

Under the health law, people who earn between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, about $11,670 to $46,680 for an individual this year, are eligible for premium subsidies to help them purchase coverage if they buy through the new state and federal marketplaces, such as healthcare.gov.

Some exceptions apply. For example, undocumented immigrants cannot enroll in coverage through the new marketplaces. And people with job-based insurance that meets the law’s requirements are not allowed to get a subsidy, no matter their income.

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