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2 Illinois insurers push back due date for first premium payment under ACA

Updated: January 8, 2014 7:50PM

Two insurers in Illinois are giving consumers who bought one of the health insurance plans offered through President Obama’s health care law more time to pay their first premium.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, the largest insurer in the state, said Wednesday that consumers now have until Jan. 30 to pay their first premium, in order for their plan to be retroactively active on Jan. 1. Humana Inc. will also accept payments through the end of the month, a spokeswoman for the insurer said Wednesday.

Most insurers had originally said that consumers had until Friday to pay their first premium to have it kick in Jan. 1. The industry had already pushed back the premium deadline from late December before that.

The new extension is the latest deadline delay pushed by the federal government and the insurance industry to compensate for technical failures and errors plaguing the enrollment process under the Affordable Care Act.

The federal government has said that more than 2.1 million people had selected a private plan through the Affordable Care Act as of Jan. 1.

Insurers have declined to say how many of the people who bought plans had actually paid the premium.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois said it is extending the payment deadline to give customers extra time to pay their first month’s premium.

“At a time when many people are learning about new products and responsibilities of being a new policy holder we wanted to give people additional time in January to plan and budget for potentially new household expenses,” Mary Ann Schultz, a spokeswoman for Blue Cross Blue Shield, said.

The other insurers who also have insurance plans offered through the law either could not be reached or said there was no change in the deadline to pay the first premium.

Land of Lincoln Health Inc. Co-op and Aetna Inc., which also represents Coventry Health Care, both said their deadline is still Jan. 10.

Health Alliance Medical Plans Inc. did not immediately respond.

The new plans offered on are one of the key ways the Affordable Care Act is supposed to expand the number of people who are insured by giving people who make between 133 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level tax credits to buy them.

Twitter: @MonifaThomas1

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