More than 300,000 people who bought health plans through the federal insurance exchange have been warned that their coverage will be cut off unless they quickly provide proof that their citizenship or immigration status makes them eligible to be insured through the new marketplace, The Washington Post reported.


The warning letters were mailed this week to about 310,000 people in the 36 states that rely on the federally operated exchange, including about 700 Iowa residents. Recipients have until Sept. 5 to submit copies of green cards, citizenship documents or other information showing that they qualify for the coverage. If they miss the deadline, their coverage will end Sept. 30.


It's the first step the Obama administration has taken to hold consumers accountable when information on their applications conflicts with records on file at federal agencies or is missing altogether.


The action, announced Tuesday, will affect only people with lingering eligibility issues involving their citizenship or immigration status. They are included in about 2 million cases of several kinds of application discrepancies involving people who have obtained coverage through the exchange.


Federal health officials said Tuesday that they will take separate action soon to resolve an even larger group of cases with discrepancies: those in which the income people listed on their insurance applications does not match their federal tax records. In cases of unresolved income inconsistencies, the government could reduce or eliminate people's federal insurance subsidies, but could not end their coverage.