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Covered California clears thousands of untimely applicants, some still slated for termination

on October 21, 2014

Thousands of Bay Area residents who were told they were about to lose their state health care coverage will now be able to keep their insurance plans.

Covered California, the state’s public health exchange, said it cleared the legal residency status of most individuals who received notices last month requiring documentation of their status in order to continue their health insurance coverage.

In early September, roughly 27,000 letters went to Bay Area families notifying them that Covered California planned to end their coverage because they didn’t submit timely documents proving legal residence in the state. The balance of the cases have now been resolved, said Wendy McAnelly, Covered California’s information officer.

“While we hope that in the end no one who is eligible loses coverage, we are appreciative that so many individuals submitted documents to verify their citizenship or immigration status, meaning their coverage will remain in place,” executive director for Covered California Peter Lee said in a statement.

But the exchange still plans to terminate coverage for 2,212 individuals living in the San Francisco Bay Area, McAnelly said, out of the 10,474 individuals to be terminated statewide by November 1.

McAnelly said Covered California will offer support for the Bay Area residents whose coverage will be terminated. “If these consumers were to submit the required documentation to verify their lawful presence status, we will work with the consumers to reinstate their coverage,” said McAnelly.

Covered California is now gearing up for open enrollment, which is the only time period when Californians can sign up for a health insurance plan through the state open enrollment begins November 15 and concludes February 1. During the last open enrollment period, many individuals had trouble accessing the Covered California website because the heavy volume of consumer interest and interactions challenged their systems and service channels.

To prevent this, Covered California representatives said they have upgraded the site’s digital infrastructure. They have also doubled the number of customer service representatives and now offer technical support in many languages.

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