Payment Deadline Passes for First ACA Plans as Many Enrollees Fail to Pay
Some Carriers Extend Deadline Again
The deadline for Americans to pay their first month’s premium on new health policies passed January 10, and insurers say consumers have been slow to make their payments. The January 10 deadline voluntarily set by health plans across the nation allowed consumers more time to pay due to the numerous delays and technical difficulties associated with launch of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Exchanges (see America’s Health Insurance Plans statement). The extension applied to consumers who had signed up for Exchange plans by December 23, 2013. Some plans have further extended the deadline for customers to pay as detailed below.
Some Enrollees Yet to Pay
AHIP’s January 10 deadline allowed new enrollees to be covered retroactively from January 1 on, and also allowed both the health plan and the individual more time to prepare invoices and payments. The Wall Street Journal reports that many insurance carriers will be forced to continue accepting payments past the deadline since so many enrollees have yet to make their premium payments. The WSJ indicates that, of enrollees who have received invoices from about 100 carriers, 67% paid their bill by the deadline. These numbers may well rise as people will continue to send in their first month’s payment past the deadline, although it’s concerning that one out of three new enrollees have not paid their premiums.
There are myriad reasons enrollees have been late to pay. Some may be unable to afford the cost of their insurance, while others may not fully understand how health insurance works or are confused by what the ACA requires of them. Some may not have received an invoice or insurance cards. Because of the large December surge to enroll, some insurance companies have had a difficult time managing the influx of new signups. If enrollees have not received documentation of their enrollment, they are likely to be more hesitant to make a payment.
Another Deadline Extension
Because of the rush to enroll, and the difficulties associated with such a large expansion of insurance coverage, many insurance companies have again decided to extend their first payment deadlines. People enrolled in Blue Cross plans across many states, including Texas and Illinois, have a new January 15 deadline. California’s two largest insurance carriers also have delayed their payment deadlines with Anthem Blue Cross now requiring payment by January 31 and Kaiser Permanente payments due January 22.
We may continue to see delays regarding enrollment and payment throughout the open enrollment period. Those who purchased insurance after the December 24, 2013 deadline will have different payment deadlines since their coverage will not start until the month following their plan selection. We will continue to monitor this issue and report any new findings.
We will also keep you apprised of new developments in ACA implementation so you can serve your clients as well as possible. In the meantime, please visit www.benefitmall.com to view past blogs and Legislative Alerts. Or you may visit www.HealthcareExchange.com for more blog posts, polls, surveys and numerous resources.
It’s important to note that the federal health care reform initiative discussed in this blog is referred to by several different acronyms including ACA, PPACA and ObamaCare. No matter what the term, BenefitMall will continue tracking and reporting on key health care reform trends that are impacting Brokers, payroll personnel and key stakeholders.
The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position, or opinions of BenefitMall. This update is provided for informational purposes. Please consult with a licensed accountant or attorney regarding any legal and tax matters discussed herein.