An estimated 2,200 customers who purchase their insurance through Access Health CT will be losing their subsidy because they failed to file their 2014 federal taxes.
Access Health CEO James Wadleigh said last week that he received information from the Internal Revenue Service alerting him that 2,200 Connecticut customers have not filed their 2014 tax returns. It’s the first time state exchanges received this type of information.
That means those customers may have some sticker shock when the bill arrives. Wadleigh said those 2,200 receive about $1.1 million in advanced premium tax credits. Wadleigh said he believes all 2,200 are still currently enrolled in coverage through the exchange. However, telling them they lost their subsidy because they failed to file their taxes is nearly impossible.
Under the Affordable Care Act, ”states are not allowed to store any tax information or communicate anything related to taxes,” Wadleigh said in a conference call. “We’re really limited in our ability to say ‘you didn’t file your taxes’.”
He said they’ve asked Connecticut’s Congressional delegation to get involved.
The exchange is currently working on language for a postcard to ask customers to check their federal tax status as they race toward a Dec. 15 deadline for customers who want their coverage to continue or start on Jan. 1, 2016.
The problem is a different problem than the one this summer, which caused 7,000 Connecticut residents to lose their insurance, Wadleigh said.
That problem involved the creation of a new application every time a customer updated or changed their information. Those multiple applications, in addition to the notices requesting verification documents, cause a “snowball effect” and created confusion for consumers, Wadleigh has said.
About 7,000 customers didn’t submit the proper documentation to maintain coverage at that time, while 16,000 were working their way through the process.
Right now about 3 to 5 percent of its customer base is dropping out of the exchange because they aren’t submitting the proper forms of identification or income information in the 90-day period, Wadleigh said.
There’s another 10,000 Access Health customers who have failed to auto-renew their coverage and have not signed up yet for a plan, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who co-chairs the Access Health Board of Directors, said.
“We realize we’re a little shorter than we thought and we need to get the word out,” Wyman said last week during a conference call with reporters.
For customers who currently have coverage and need to maintain their coverage next year they will need to enroll by Tuesday, Dec. 15.
Open enrollment began Nov. 1 and will end Jan. 31, which is the shortest enrollment period since the exchanges opened in 2013.
Wadleigh declined to give reporters numbers about how many individuals have enrolled in the exchange since it opened on Nov. 1.
As of Nov. 19, which was the last Access Health Board of Directors meeting, about 99,127 individuals have enrolled with one of the four private carriers on the exchange. Most of those were auto-renewed in plans. About 5,470 customers signed up for insurance in the first 19 days of this year’s enrollment.