Health insurers will be unusually generous this holiday season toward those who purchased coverage via the public exchanges. As a group, they will give policyholders extra time to make their first premium payments in an effort to ease any stress consumers may have about paying for the insurance they just signed up for.
That’s what trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans announced this week, following the closing of the application window at midnight Monday. AHIP said its members agreed voluntarily to be flexible with premium payment deadlines for those who bought insurance through the exchange marketplace.
“Our community wants to do everything we can to make sure consumers have greater peace of mind about their health care coverage and to support them throughout the open enrollment process,” said AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni.
Typically, those who applied for and were accepted for health coverage would have to pay the first month’s premium by Dec. 31.
“The industry is working to minimize adverse consequences for new and returning consumers by providing flexibility in January premium due dates to ensure January coverage is not disrupted,” AHIP said. “In addition, for current enrollees switching carriers, health plans will work with consumers to help support a smooth transition to their new coverage.”
When enrolling for 2014 coverage, many consumers were double-billed for their premiums, while others were confused by the federal subsidies and weren’t sure how those effected their coverage.
“Health plans will work with their call centers to respond to consumer questions about their renewal and billing status for January, including providing information about the plan’s process and timing for issuing refunds when appropriate in instances of double-billing and encouraging consumers to update their new insurance information with their provider and pharmacy,” AHIP said.