HHS to insurers: Give people more time to pay for health coverage

While insisting there is “still ample time” for Americans to sign up for health insurance by Dec. 23, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is asking insurers for some breathing room on premium deadlines.

HHS to insurers: Give people more time to pay for health coverage

Insurance News

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Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius insists there is “still ample time” for Americans to sign up for health insurance through the state and federal exchanges, despite increasing calls from the producer and carrier community to grant an enrollment extension beyond the current deadline of Dec. 23.

However, that hasn’t stopped Sebelius from urging insurers this week to accept late premium payment and offer retroactive coverage for some customers.

According to Michael Hash, director of the HHS Office of Health Reform, that would mean a customer who pays for insurance Jan. 5 could be insured retroactively to Jan. 1, helping that individual qualify for a federal insurance subsidy.

The move is a request to carriers, not a requirement, Hash stressed.

If adapted, the changes would prevent gaps in coverage for those buying insurance through state and federal exchanges plagued by technical errors.

Currently, insurers are required only to accept payment until Dec. 31 for Jan. 1 coverage.

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