California will cancel Obamacare coverage for 10,000 over citizenship

Covered California's executive director, Peter Lee, said termination notices are going out this week to about 10,000 people. Above, he speaks last month in L.A.
(Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

California’s health insurance exchange is canceling Obamacare coverage for 10,474 people who failed to prove their citizenship or legal residency in the U.S.

Covered California, the state-run insurance exchange, enrolled more than 1.2 million people during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act this year. For most consumers, the exchange said, it could verify citizenship or immigration status instantly with a federal data hub.

But more than 148,000 enrollees were lacking proof of eligibility and needed to submit documentation. People living in the U.S. illegally aren’t eligible for health law coverage.


Covered California began sending notices to affected individuals last month.

The exchange said 130,105 people submitted proof of legal status. Covered California said it’s still reviewing information related to 7,629 people who sent in paperwork.

That left the 10,474 people who will receive a “pre-termination notice” this week. Their health plan will send a final cancellation notice.

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said there’s still time for those individuals to provide proof of residency.

“We are hopeful that anyone receiving these notices will respond by providing appropriate documents so we can work with them to ensure their ongoing eligibility for health coverage,” Lee said.

“Our goal is to continue coverage for anyone who is lawfully present,” he added.

Covered California is gearing up for its second open enrollment period starting Nov. 15. It will run until Feb. 15.

Customer service at Covered California’s call centers has suffered in recent weeks as workers were pulled away to deal with these residency verification issues.


Consumer advocates had pressed the exchange to communicate clearly in its notices and include information in multiple languages.

Twitter: @chadterhune