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Insurers extend premium deadline for exchange health plans

Posted January 10, 2014

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— North Carolinians who have signed up for health coverage through the online exchange have more time to pay their January premiums.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas, the two insurers offering health plans in North Carolina through the exchange, said Friday that they have extended the deadline for people to pay. Premiums were supposed to be paid by Friday in order for coverage to become effective.

Blue Cross customers have until Jan. 24 to pay their first premium, while Coventry customers must make their payment by Jan. 17.

"This extension provides our members the maximum amount of time we can without impacting our ability to get members who want (coverage by Feb. 1) their invoice on time," Walt Cherniak, a spokesman for Coventry parent Aetna, said in an email to WRAL News.

Blue Cross spokesman Lew Borman said people who signed up through the exchange have been making premium payments in recent days, but the company wants to give people extra time, given all of the challenges the HealthCare.gov site presented and the large number of people new to the enrollment process.

Blue Cross call centers will be open until midnight Friday – they usually close at 9 p.m. – and from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday to help answer questions.

Borman said the insurer is mailing out identification cards to people who have signed up for coverage.

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  • kimberly.jeans Jan 10, 2014

    They make it seem like people are not wanting to pay their premiums on time. There are lots of people out there, myself included, who have been dealing with the hassle of BCBS and the Exchange not being able to agree on whether or not you have coverage (for the record I signed up on the Marketplace back in November and have been trying to make my premium payment since then, but the info did not make it from the Marketplace to BCBS and come January 1, I still did not have viable insurance. Nightmare...). Some of us have been going through insanity trying to get it all figured out in time. There's been nothing we could do but fight and wait.

  • awr117 Jan 10, 2014

    What does next month bring If they are scrapping to pay this month?