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Some Insurers, States Announce Grace Period for Obamacare Premiums

One large insurer is offering an additional week for people to get their first premium payments in and several state exchanges have announced the same move.

In order to be enrolled in a new plan beginning in January, individuals not only have to choose the plan by December 23rd, they also have to submit their first premium payment by January 1st. That didn't leave a lot of time, especially over the busy Christmas season.

Aetna insurance has announced that it will extend the deadline for people to submit their checks until January 8th. That means those who sign up for coverage at the last minute will have two weeks to get their checks in rather than one. Other insurers are expected to follow Aetna's lead.

Some state exchanges are making the same move. Connecticut, Vermont and California have all announced an extension to January 7th for payment of first premiums.

This move, which may spread to other states and insurers, is not only an attempt to make the process more convenient but may also be an attempt to head off a problem. If insurers do not receive payments on time, at least some of the people applying will have their applications voided. That would mean some people who went through the process once would have to attempt to enroll a second time.

While the additional week may make it easier on some consumers to get their payments in, it will not change the January 1st deadline for insurers. They still need to have their policies ready to go for the beginning of the year. That could be a problem. Reuters reports that Aetna is "still having issues collecting data from HealthCare.gov."


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