America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade association representing the nation’s insurance industry, announced Wednesday afternoon that insurance providers will voluntarily extend the deadline for the first months’ premium payment until January 10, a move intended to “provide greater peace of mind for consumers purchasing coverage through the new federal and state marketplaces.”
Previously, customers would have had to purchase a plan by December 23 and made an initial payment by December 31st for the plan to be active on January 1. However:
The short time period in which to complete these steps, particularly around the holidays, combined with the ongoing technical issues with healthcare.gov have raised concerns that some consumers’ coverage may not be able to begin on January 1.
[…] Health plans are voluntarily making this one-time change to the payment deadline to help protect consumers from potential gaps in their coverage caused by the ongoing technical problems with healthcare.gov. Significant progress has been made in recent weeks to improve the enrollment process for consumers, but more work needs to be done to resolve the back-end challenges, particularly those related to processing enrollment files, to ensure all consumers who selected a plan are enrolled in coverage.
The premiums must still be made for the policy to take effect, AHIP wrote, but any payment made by the 10th will provide retroactive coverage to the 1st.
The Affordable Care Act is entering a crucial week, as the website only recently began functioning for the vast majority of users, giving customers who may have had their policies canceled little time to purchase a replacement plan. The administration reported that enrollment has picked up dramatically following improvements to the federal exchange website.
[Image via screengrab]
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