KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Insurers Again Extend Payment Deadlines For Jan. 1 Coverage On Exchanges

News outlets in California offer examples of companies that are giving new customers more time to pay their first month's premiums, while in Connecticut, one insurer is beginning to get a handle on the crush of enrollment.

Los Angeles Times: Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente Extend Payment Deadlines Again 
Amid further delays for consumers, California's two largest health insurers extended payment deadlines once more for people who signed up for Jan. 1 coverage through the Covered California exchange. Anthem Blue Cross, a unit of industry giant WellPoint Inc., said it is giving new enrollees until Jan. 31 to pay their first month's premium. Kaiser Permanente, the state's largest HMO, extended the deadline to Jan. 22 (Terhune, 1/15).

The San Jose Mercury News: Health Net Agrees To Extend Two Payment Deadlines Until Jan. 31
Responding to the crush of health insurance applications, a third major health insurer whose plans are sold on Covered California, the state's health care exchange, has agreed to extend to Jan. 31 two payment deadlines for its policies. On Wednesday, Health Net said it would delay until month's end the payment deadline for anyone who bought a Health Net plan through the exchange in late December for coverage that began Jan. 1. The previous deadline was Wednesday (Seipel, 1/15).

The CT Mirror: Anthem Still Lags But Making Progress Processing Payments
As of Tuesday, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield had processed the payments of 45 percent of Connecticut members slated to begin coverage Jan. 1 and expects the number to "rise rapidly," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Wednesday. Anthem has struggled to set up coverage for customers whose plans were scheduled to begin Jan. 1, with a backlog in processing payments that's left many Connecticut customers wondering if they have insurance and unsure how to handle doctor visits or prescription refills. Malloy said it was "a disappointment" that Anthem’s parent company, Wellpoint, had not been prepared to handle the enrollment of customers who signed up for insurance as part of the federal health law commonly known as Obamacare (Becker, 1/15).

Meanwhile, Politico Pro notes that next Tuesday insurers are expected to reveal to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services how many checks they've received in the mail - 

Politico Pro: Deadlines Keep Coming — And Moving — For Obamacare
Tangled Obamacare due dates got even messier this week as the deadline for February enrollment came Wednesday and more payment deadlines for January coverage were pushed toward the end of the month. But clarity is at least on the horizon for one critical detail: the true number of people who have signed up and then paid their first premiums. Next Tuesday, insurers are due to disclose to CMS how many of the people who signed up for their plans actually sent in checks for that initial premium. The reports will determine how millions of dollars in subsidies are apportioned by the government to each company. Insurers will only receive these premium tax credits for enrollees who have paid their share of their plan (Cheney and Norman, 1/15).

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