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Insurers Give Obamacare Customers More Time for Payment

Consumers who enroll in health plans through the new U.S. exchanges will get 10 extra days to pay their first premiums and still gain coverage effective Jan. 1, an insurance company trade group announced.

Those who select coverage by Dec. 23 through the Obamacare state- and federal-run marketplaces will have until Jan. 10, rather than Dec. 31, to make their first payments, America’s Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP, said today in a statement.

The government-run insurance markets opened Oct. 1 and were plagued by website delays, garbled data and technical issues that took weeks to resolve. The problems suppressed sign-ups under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy initiative, and stoked political backlash.

“Our community is taking an important step to give consumers greater peace of mind about their health-care coverage,” Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive officer of the Washington-based group, said in the statement.

The Obama administration asked insurers on Dec. 12 to give customers more time to pay and grant retroactive coverage as it seeks to enroll an estimated 7 million Americans for 2014.

To contact the reporter on this story: Drew Armstrong in New York at darmstrong17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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