Covered California postpones pay deadlineNews added by Benefits Pro on January 7, 2014

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By Allison Bell

Amid reports of administration problems, the state-based California exchange has pushed back the payment deadline for coverage starting Jan. 1.

The Covered California individual market exchange is changing the due date for private “qualified health plan” coverage to Jan. 15, from Jan. 6.

Earlier, carriers decided to accept payments for coverage issued through both state-based and federally run exchanges up until Jan. 10.

Payments for Jan. 1 coverage actually must be in the carriers hands by Jan. 15, not simply postmarked that day, exchange officials said.

“The extension also assures health insurance companies time to mail the invoices and for consumers to have received the documents,” officials said.

Payments for QHP coverage will be due at the beginning of each month, officials said.

Exchange officials reported about 400,000 consumers had selected QHPs through Covered California as of Dec. 23.

Hundreds of thousands of additional consumers may have signed up for since then. Consumers complained bitterly online about problems with getting into either the exchange website or its telephone call center. Some consumers said they were experiencing hold times of two hours or more.

When the exchange program open enrollment period began Oct. 1, only a few hundred of the agents who had applied to become exchange agents were certified. The exchange took about six weeks to clear the backlog.

Now, agents are saying the exchange and QHPs are just starting to send enrollment confirmation notices and bills to consumers who have signed up for QHPs, and that QHP enrollees who have received their insurance cards are rare.

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