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2 insurance companies give Obamacare enrollees more time to pay

Updated: February 12, 2014 6:10AM



Two more insurers in Illinois said Friday they are extending the time consumers have to pay their first premium for health insurance plans bought through Obamacare.

Land of Lincoln Health Inc. Co-op says people have until Jan. 31 to pay, in order for their plan to be retroactively active on Jan. 1. Aetna Inc, which owns Coventry Health Care, said Aetna enrollees will have until Jan. 14 to pay their premium and Coventry members will have until Jan. 17.

Friday was originally supposed to be the last day consumers had to pay their first premium to have it kick in Jan. 1.

But two other insurers – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and Humana Inc. – had said on Wednesday that they were giving consumers more time to pay. Blue Cross Blue Shield enrollees have until Jan. 30, while Humana gave its enrollees until Jan. 31.

Both Aetna and Land of Lincoln had originally said on Wednesday that the deadline would still be Jan. 10.

But on Friday, Aetna issued a statement saying, “In an effort to help our customers gain access to their benefits and accommodate those members who enrolled late in the process, we have extended our payment deadlines for plans with a 1/1/14 effective date.”

Land of Lincoln Health’s CEO Dan Yunker made a similar comment, saying:

“Land of Lincoln Health wants to do everything possible to help our members acclimate to their new coverage as well provide those who took the opportunity to enroll by December 24, 2013 additional time to make their payment.”

Health Alliance Medical Plans Inc., meanwhile, did not say whether they are extending the deadline, but said: “We are working directly with our enrollees on a case-by-case basis to accommodate system-based enrollment and payment delays and, whenever possible, ensure coverage is effective January 1.”

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.

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

Land of Lincoln Health wouldn’t give specifics, but a spokeswoman said, “We have received first premium payments from a majority of our members.”

There have been a series of deadline delays 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.

mjthomas@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MonifaThomas1



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