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Health Exchange Recipients Asked to Prove They're Not in Jail

If you are signed up for private insurance through Washington’s Health Exchange, don’t be surprised if you are asked to prove you are not in jail. The question may come as surprise. But it may come, even if you’ve never been convicted of a crime.

The Washington Health Exchange has sent notices to some who receive private insurance, asking them to prove that they are not incarcerated. Health Exchange spokesman Michael Marchand says it has to do with problems with identity confirmation his agency receives from what he calls the “Federal Hub”.

Marchand: "The verification cant be done by the federal hub for whatever reason. Many times its due to inaccurate records, or the hub is down, part of the piece that needs to make that identification isn’t working.”

Adults, many of whom have never had a speeding ticket, are getting the notices, but so are very young children, because they’re not in the system.

Marchand: “It throws the federal system a curve-ball, their searching for someone’s social security, they have no credit history yet, and nothing comes up, and they wonder if someone has been incarcerated for a time, because there is no record.”

Marchand says they have opted to make the confirmation a simple task for anyone who receives the notice. He says if you are asked to prove you are not incarcerated, simply write a statement to the effect that you are not, and sign it. Then either fax it in to the customer support center or send it by email. He says people will have 90 days to supply that information after they receive the notice.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.