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Insurers Extend Payment Deadline

by Christine Stuart | Jan 9, 2014 12:29pm
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Posted to: Business, Health Care

All three private insurance companies participating in Connecticut’s health insurance exchange are extending their payment deadlines a few more days for the 34,295 people who signed up before Dec. 23.

In order to finish the enrollment process, those who signed up for plans through the exchange have to pay their first monthly premium to one of the three companies. Anthem and ConnectiCare Benefits have extended the payment deadline to Jan. 15 and HealthyCT has extended it deadline until Jan. 17.

Anthem, which has received about two-thirds of the enrollments, said they are extending the deadline to make sure it can accommodate the “late December application surge.” That means it won’t be rejecting policies where payment was received by Jan. 15. The coverage will then be retroactive to Jan. 1.

A spokeswoman for ConnectiCare Benefits said they have received January premium payments from approximately half of its applicants and is working hard to make sure all the applicants are aware that payment is due.

“We are contacting those that elected a January 1 policy effective date and have not yet submitted payment,” Amanda L. Mueller said in a statement.

HealthyCT, the new nonprofit cooperative, is accepting payments postmarked up until and including Jan. 17.

In the meantime, medical providers and pharmacies are trying to accommodate those making the transition to a new plan.

CVS/pharmacy, one of the bigger chains, issued a press release at the end of December saying they would try to “minimize disruption to care whenever possible.”

In some instances the pharmacy said it was willing to offer consumers a “bridge” supply of medication of 15 to 30 days as a courtesy to help consumers remain on their therapy as they resolve issues with the exchange.

“We want to play our part in the medical community to support our patients’ health care needs during this time because some plan details are still being determined,” said Dr. Andrew Sussman, CVS Caremark’s Senior Vice President and Associate Chief Medical Officer.

Access Health CEO Kevin Counihan said the exchange is working with the companies to make sure the transition goes smoothly for consumers. He said each company is handling the situation differently, but the companies were strongly encouraged to call consumers who have failed to pay their first monthly premium bill.

More than 62,153 Connecticut residents signed up for plans through the exchange before the Dec. 23 deadline. About 70 percent of the 34,295 consumers enrolled in plans with the three private insurance companies will receive subsidies.

There are another roughly 27,850 individuals who qualified for Medicaid. The federal government will cover the entire cost of Medicaid benefits until 2017. However, those consumers should have received some form of ID card in the mail if they signed up before Dec. 23.

Consumers enrolled in Medicaid are encouraged to call the Department of Social Services at 1-855-6-CONNECT (1-855-626-6632), if they have not received their cards in the mail.

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