Health Plans Voluntarily Extend Deadline for Premium Payment

The new market reforms included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) take effect on January 1, 2014. As the deadlines approach to select and pay for a health plan, many consumers have questions about the enrollment process and how they can ensure they are covered.

Currently, in order for coverage to begin on January 1, consumers must select a plan by December 23 and pay the first month's premium by December 31. However, the short time period in which consumers must complete these steps and have their enrollment processed, combined with the ongoing technical difficulties associated with healthcare.gov, could mean that for some consumers, coverage may not be able to begin January 1. 

To help provide peace of mind to consumers, AHIP's Board of Directors announced that health plans are voluntarily extending the deadline for consumers to pay their first month's premium. Consumers who select their plans by December 23 and pay the first month's premium by January 10 will now be able to have coverage retroactive to January 1. It is important for consumers to remember that they must pay their first month’s premium before coverage takes effect. 

Consumers should check with the plan they have selected for more details about their specific coverage policy. 

The infographic below outlines the five things that must happen for a person's coverage to be effective January 1.