Under pressure from the Obama administration, insurers have decided to “voluntarily” extend the deadline for paying premiums by 10 days.
Today the board of AHIP, the insurance industries largest trade group, voted to grant an extension until “at least” January 10th. New enrollees must still select a plan online by December 23rd, but rather than having to get their payment in a week later, they now have more than two weeks to do so.
AHIP’s announcement of the moved deadline makes clear that the shift was motivated in part by ongoing problems with healthcare.gov. An AHIP blog post about the announcement puts it this way:
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.
AHIP also created an infographic which links to this Washington Post story 15,000 sign-ups which were never delivered to insurers.
The industry group says the decision was taken “voluntarily” (that word appears 4 times if you count the headline). However, the Examiner reported last week that HHS was “strongly encouraging” insurers to extend deadlines and make other adjustments including allowing people to see doctors outside their network.