America’s Health Insurance Plans, a national trade group representing health insurers, has announced that its members will accept payments for exchange insurance plans up to January 10 for coverage starting January 1. Enrollees who want their plan to begin January 1 still have to have entered their information and selected a plan by December 23, this coming Monday, but will have a couple more weeks to start paying for them. While this will help the uninsured who want coverage starting January 1, it’s also a favor to people whose current plans end December 31 and who would like to buy a new plan on the exchanges — they still have to “enroll” within the week, but they’ll have more time to complete the process through to payment.
Technically, the coverage will be applied retroactively: People will be on the hook for medical expenses until they make their first premium payment, but once they do (as long as it’s before January 10), the plan they select will cover their expenses going back to January 1.
Some states were already extending deadlines in this way — California, for instance, had instructed insurers to accept January premiums up through January 7, but this apparently will apply nationally, to all of the group’s members. Insurers are simultaneously ramping up their marketing campaigns to get people to enroll (which can be done through March 31, coverage just would begin later), and appear to be as invested as ever in the law’s success.