About 7,500 families in the central San Joaquin Valley who enrolled in Covered California insurance plans have until Tuesday to submit documents validating their citizenship or face losing coverage.
The law requires that everyone who enrolls in health insurance through Covered California show proof they are "lawfully present" in the country to be eligible for insurance.
The Valley families are among 98,000 statewide who were sent letters earlier this month from Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, that they need to provide such documents.
Some families had submitted wrong or illegible documents and some had submitted no documents when they enrolled for insurance coverage.
If people fail to submit documents, they run the risk of their insurance being canceled along with any federal tax credit the family is receiving to lower monthly premiums. The family could have to repay those tax credits and pay a tax penalty.
As of Sept. 15, about half of the households statewide had provided the necessary paperwork to maintain coverage, said Roy Kennedy, a Covered California spokesman. Kennedy could not say how many Valley families have yet to respond.
Some people may be hesitant to submit paperwork for fear it could affect immigration status, but documents will be treated confidentially and will be used only to determine the consumers' eligibility for health insurance programs and not for immigration enforcement, Covered California has said.
People can get help online or by telephone at (800) 300-1806.
Individual help also is available from Covered California certified insurance agents or certified enrollment counselors, such as Clinica Sierra Vista and Centro La Familia Advocacy Services in Fresno.
"They can come to Clinica Sierra Vista and we can assist them in faxing over copies of documents," said Lizeth Lopez, outreach and enrollment manager.