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Obamacare shoppers can pay Jan. 10 for Jan. 1 coverage -AHIP

Source: Reuters - Wed, 18 Dec 2013 06:52 PM
Author: Reuters
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Dec 18 (Reuters) - Individuals who select their health insurance plan on the exchanges set up under the national healthcare reform law by the Dec. 23 deadline will have until Jan. 10 to pay and still receive coverage as of Jan. 1, 2014, the nation's largest organization of insurers said on Wednesday.

Some insurers had already announced similar moves individually, but now plans selling insurance on either the state or federal exchanges will voluntarily honor the delayed payment schedule, America's Health Insurance Plans said in a statement.

Under the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, individuals must buy health insurance for 2014 or pay a fine. But shoppers have been hindered by massive technology problems on the federal website HealthCare.gov, which sells insurance in 36 states, and in some of the other 14 states running their own online exchanges.

The government last week said that it was urging insurers to allow shoppers more time to pay their first premiums and also suggested other measures like extending the plan selection deadline for Jan. 1 coverage.

WellPoint Inc, which operates 14 Blue Cross Blue Shields that offer exchange-based plans, said on Wednesday that it was following the AHIP schedule with the Jan. 10 deadline. Aetna Inc and Molina Healthcare Inc had already announced similar extensions last week.

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