Affordable Care Act glitch leaves Utah children uninsured

Affordable Care Act glitch leaves Utah children uninsured

SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – Utah families are learning the hard way about another unintended consequence of signing up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – Utah families are learning the hard way about another unintended consequence of signing up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

They are signing up for a plan, only to find out later their children are not covered.

The problem is a communication break down between the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov and state programs.

Concerned Utahans have been warning about the glitch for weeks and now that Obamacare plans are taking effect we are seeing the consequences play out.

Kenneth Hunt is dealing with it first hand.

As a self employed professional, he has turned to the private insurance market to cover his family for about 20 years.

"Recently with the new changes I was actually excited to go in and have the opportunity to be part of a group plan and hopefully get some better benefits," said Hunt.

That excitement turned into a major headache.

Hunt thought he found the perfect plan for his family on healthcare.gov.

He paid the premium, canceled his old plan and then found out his daughters were left out, because they may qualify for CHIP.

He says it was never disclosed during or after the application process.

"I wouldn't have even canceled my insurance until I knew I had coverage," said Hunt.

He is now evaluating what he says are two less than ideal options.

An appeal with healthcare.gov or apply for CHIP, both could take months to resolve.

He is likely not alone, his and other Utah children are falling through the cracks, because healthcare.gov and state Medicaid and CHIP programs are not communicating the way they should.

Lincoln Nehring, with Voices of Utah Children and others saw this coming.

It was a reoccurring theme at the Health Care Reform Task Force meeting at the Capitol last month.

"It was foreseeable that this was going to be an issue, it's still not clear how many people are impacted by this," said Nehring.

He believes the glitch will be fixed, but not before open enrollment closes March 31, 2014.

He says at this point it doesn't seem to be a priority with the federal government.

"There is no secret there were many, many issues and most of them have been worked out at this point, but some remain and this is one of those," said Nehring.

It is a priority to Utah families being put at risk.

"I've been paying for health insurance for 20 years and all of the sudden they are not covered. I could be left on the hook for thousands of dollars if there was an accident," said Hunt.

Families below 200% of the federal poverty level can qualify for CHIP.

Nehring suggests applying for CHIP certification before going to the federal marketplace to pick a plan.

He also recommends using a certified navigator or broker, neither will cost any additional money and can help you avoid pitfalls like this.

Even if you are in Hunts situation and have gone through the process, they may be able to expedite a solution.

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