WASHINGTON - The nation's largest health insurance industry trade group announced Wednesday that consumers, frustrated by problems with federal and state health insurance marketplaces, will get more time to pay for individual coverage that begins Jan. 1.
The board of directors of America's Health Insurance Plans said consumers who select an individual health plan by Dec. 23 will have until Jan. 10 to make their first month's premium payment for retroactive coverage that begins Jan. 1.
The previous payment deadline for Jan. 1 coverage was Dec. 31.
The one-time change will prevent coverage gaps that could arise as people switch plans and work through enrollment delays. Technical problems on state health insurance marketplaces and the HealthCare.gov website, which serves as the portal for the federal marketplace, have led to numerous problems for consumers trying to enroll in policies.
The insurance group's members cover more than 200 million people through job-based, individual, and public programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
The announcement follows a request by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for a more flexible payment schedule.
Many daily enrollment reports sent to insurers by the federal marketplace had errors and omissions that jeopardized consumers' Jan. 1 coverage status. The administration urges all consumers to verify marketplace coverage enrollments by contacting insurers directly.