Insurers Heed White House Plea for Premium Leniency

Consumers have until Jan. 10 to pay for insurance.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 30: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the troubled launch of the Healthcare.gov website October 30, 2013 in Washington, DC. The federal healthcare insurance exchange site has been plagued by problems since its launch on October 1. 
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Clara Ritger
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Clara Ritger
Dec. 18, 2013, 8:24 a.m.

In­sur­ance com­pan­ies are giv­ing con­sumers un­til Jan. 10 to pay premi­ums for health cov­er­age that be­gins Jan. 1, ac­cord­ing to a na­tion­al trade as­so­ci­ation rep­res­ent­ing in­surers.

Amer­ica’s Health In­sur­ance Plans an­nounced Wed­nes­day that con­sumers who se­lect plans by Dec. 23 on the Af­ford­able Care Act’s fed­er­al and state ex­changes will be al­lowed to pay premi­ums as late as Jan. 10, an ex­ten­sion from the Dec. 31 dead­line set by the Health and Hu­man Ser­vices De­part­ment.

The an­nounce­ment comes after the White House last week en­cour­aged in­surers to give more le­ni­ency to con­sumers in the first month of Obama­care cov­er­age.

Con­sumers who pay their premi­ums be­fore Jan. 1 will have cov­er­age be­gin­ning on the first of the new year. Those who pay in the first 10 days of the month will re­ceive ret­ro­act­ive cov­er­age and be able to file claims for ser­vices re­ceived.

AHIP Pres­id­ent and CEO Kar­en Ig­nani called the move “an im­port­ant step to give con­sumers great­er peace of mind about their health care cov­er­age.”

AHIP’s press re­lease cited prob­lems with Health­Care.gov as the reas­on for giv­ing con­sumers more time to pay their premi­ums, and called on the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion to fix the back-end is­sues that trans­mit faulty con­sumer in­form­a­tion to in­sur­ance com­pan­ies.

Up­date (1:53 p.m. EST): HHS Spokes­wo­man Joanne Peters said in an email that the ad­min­is­tra­tion looks for­ward to con­tinu­ing to work with in­sur­ance com­pan­ies to provide ad­di­tion­al help to con­sumers.

“We ap­plaud the na­tions’ health in­surers that have de­cided to give con­sumers more time to pay their first premi­um, and ul­ti­mately make it easi­er for con­sumers to en­roll in Mar­ket­place cov­er­age,” Peters wrote.

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