Obamacare recipients could lose coverage

WASHINGTON STATE -- When Obamacare rolled out, Washington state was lucky to avoid several issues. But now a glitch in the system has some people concerned their brand-new health care plans will be dropped tomorrow. KEPR looked at the likelihood they'll lose coverage just as it began.

Valerie Griffith's 29-year old daughter signed up for Obamacare in December. Her coverage took effect January 1st. But now she's worried she will lose it before the month is through.

"She owes a February payment today and she can't go on and pay. She's received no invoices, she's gotten no emails, nothing in the mail, and we're just periodically checking it and hoping that by tomorrow, she's not going to be canceled off the plan," said Griffith.

And she's not alone. Benefit Consultant Philip Lynch says a lot of his clients are having issues. One group of people has an invoice waiting for them to pay but were never notified it was there. The other group, like Valerie's daughter, doesn't have an invoice to pay at all.

"I'm concerned about both groups because both groups will lose their coverage if they don't pay," said Lynch.

Valerie and I both contacted representatives from Washington Health Plan Finder. And we got two different answers.

"When I asked them if a person doesn't pay on the 23rd, is their coverage going to be canceled February 1st? And he says yes, more than likely, it will be," said Griffith.

I was told a grace period would cover the subscriber until the issue is fixed. But that doesn't solve the issue. Insurance companies are their own entity. And they may have the right to drop a subscriber who doesn't pay.

"I don't see how they can deal with this on a 1-1 basis, we'd be talking about thousands of people that are going to lose their coverage," said Lynch.

"So it's at no fault of the insured and there's a lot of stress doing on out there," said Griffith.

Payment is due by midnight on Thursday, so it will remain to be seen if people are cut off for non-payment after that.

If you signed up under the Affordable Care Act, it'd be smart to go online and check for an invoice that needs to be paid. We will continue to follow up on whether or not there's a loss of coverage for those who did not or could not pay.