Insurers to loosen payment deadlines for ObamaCare plans

The health insurance industry announced Tuesday that it will provide flexibility on payment deadlines for customers shopping for medical coverage on ObamaCare's exchanges.

Health plans will give new and returning enrollees "additional time" to pay January premiums over the holidays while still ensuring their coverage is effective on Jan. 1, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) said.

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The group also announced steps to ensure consumers switching carriers are refunded excess payments and do not face gaps in coverage.

"Our community wants to do everything we can to make sure consumers have greater peace of mind about their health care coverage and to support them throughout the open enrollment process," said AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni.

The enrollment deadline for plans that start Jan. 1 was Monday at midnight. Payments for the coverage would typically be due by the end of the month, though AHIP indicated that individual carriers might push back that deadline at their discretion.

The move is expected to help calm the waters should consumers face confusion or errors related to their enrollment.