Surprise: Insurers extend deadline to pay first month of ObamaCare plan premiums until January 10th

posted at 4:01 pm on December 18, 2013 by Allahpundit

The deadline was December 31st, but faced with the prospect of 50 percent or more of their new enrollees going uncovered in January due to nonpayment, some individual insurers had already begun granting grace periods. Then HHS announced that it was strongly urging (wink wink) insurers across the industry to extend their deadlines too. And now, inevitably, here comes the umbrella group America’s Health Insurance Plans to say that its members have done exactly that.

No matter how messy the White House’s mismanagement of O-Care’s rollout gets, the insurance industry has no choice now but to try to clean it up. You bought the ticket, guys. Enjoy the ride.

As a result of the change, individuals who pick plans by Dec. 23 will be considered covered as of Jan. 1 as long as they pay their first month’s premiums by Jan. 10. Previously, payment had been required by Dec. 31…

In addition to asking insurers to allow consumers more time to process payments, HHS asked insurers to treat out-of-network providers as in-network, to continue to allow individuals to refill prescriptions that had been covered under previous plans and to accept partial payments for January premiums. AHIP did not address those requests in its statement.

It’s only the deadline for payment that’s changed, not the December 23rd deadline for enrollment, but we’ll see how that goes during the next few weeks. I’m sure the White House would love to extend the enrollment deadline into January too, with coverage retroactive to January 1st, but that’s more dangerous for insurers since in theory it would allow someone to sign up for insurance after they’ve already had an expensive accident. Maybe HHS could allow for retroactive enrollment with the caveat that claims over a certain amount won’t be covered? Or maybe they’ll just shovel some “risk corridor” money at insurers to cover any heavy losses from people who sign up to pay for pricey treatment that’s already been incurred. There are bound to be good-faith cases next month of people who really did try to sign up before this month’s deadline but were thwarted by lingering problems with Healthcare.gov or by the fact that the federal data hub still isn’t working well enough to let them enroll directly with insurers as a workaround. (At least one state exchange website has performed so terribly that some locals think they should switch to Healthcare.gov because it’s … more reliable.) Once you let those people enroll retroactively, why not let others whose attempt at enrollment in December wasn’t quite as diligent enroll too? All the better to pad HHS’s sign-up numbers.

But that raises a bigger question: Why would insurers further complicate their lives by bending over backwards this way for procrastinating consumers? Sure, they’d like to have some extra revenue in January by letting latecomers sneak in before January 10th, but insurers forgo revenue all the time by sticking to preset deadlines. Is this simply a little Christmas generosity on the industry’s part? No, silly: They were threatened by the federal government.

Health industry consultant Kip Piper said HHS doesn’t have the authority to enforce what he calls these “political requests” [for deadline extensions]. But HHS said it will consider insurers’ cooperation now when it decides which ones can participate on the insurance exchanges next year.

“They are simultaneously asking insurers to assume the cost and risk of non-payment, taking public credit for it, and threatening insurers with loss of business if they don’t comply,” said Piper, a former government and insurance industry official.

Avik Roy made the same point a few days ago, pointing to the “menacing language” used by HHS in its new regulations urging insurers to comply with its extension “requests.” That should be illegal, says Roy, but is there any insurer bold enough to sue the feds over it, knowing that they might retaliate by booting them from the exchanges just as millions of new consumers are being forced onto them? This is why you don’t do business with the mafia: When they “ask” you for something, there’s no way to say no.

By the way, via Guy Benson, Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog has gone from arguing that the enrollment numbers are far less important than the demographic make-up of the exchange risk pools to arguing that it’s less important than you think that the risk pools contain lots of “young invincibles.” That’s the best evidence yet that HHS is lagging badly in signing up young adults.


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Please, please let 1/10/14 be a Tuesday.

Christien on December 18, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Please, please let 1/10/14 be a Tuesday.

Christien on December 18, 2013 at 4:03 PM

It’s a Friday.

Murphy9 on December 18, 2013 at 4:04 PM

RETROWARD!

de rigueur on December 18, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Retroactive Radioactive.

NotCoach on December 18, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Murphy9 on December 18, 2013 at 4:04 PM

*sigh* I was hoping against hope for “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger healthcare today!”

Christien on December 18, 2013 at 4:06 PM

And if I still don’t pay?

CurtZHP on December 18, 2013 at 4:06 PM

I just love autocratic grace periods for not following the law.

Ain’t fascism great folks?!

Murphy9 on December 18, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Peanuts. Compared to the grace period that illegal aliens get.

de rigueur on December 18, 2013 at 4:11 PM

“They are simultaneously asking insurers to assume the cost and risk of non-payment, taking public credit for it, and threatening insurers with loss of business if they don’t comply,” said Piper, a former government and insurance industry official.

A little mob/union/Chicago style coercion never hurt anybody did it?

antipc on December 18, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Remember on the other thread yesterday when I said be suspicious when the media starts hyping a ‘TEA Party favorite’(remember Rubio), but not doing the usual negative reporting that real TEA party candidates get by the legacy media? Mia Love is already sounding like an establishment RINO. I’m sure the Chamber of Crony Commerce and Karl Rove had a little talk with her.

http://therightscoop.com/mia-love-i-probably-would-vote-for-budget-agreement-even-though-it-doesnt-go-far-enough/

Wigglesworth on December 18, 2013 at 4:12 PM

You bought the ticket, guys. Enjoy the ride.And your stock prices have soared.

kunegetikos on December 18, 2013 at 4:13 PM

but that’s more dangerous for insurers since in theory it would allow someone to sign up for insurance after they’ve already had an expensive accident.

Guaranteed issue (no pre-existing conditions) means they can do this anyway.

There is very little incentive for anyone to sign up at all.

Missy on December 18, 2013 at 4:13 PM

NotCoach on December 18, 2013 at 4:06 PM

yep, that what I read too

DanMan on December 18, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Next, Obama will move the January enrollment deadline to Jan. 10.

oldroy on December 18, 2013 at 4:14 PM

But HHS said it will consider insurers’ cooperation now when it decides which ones can participate on the insurance exchanges next year.

The fascism of this regime becomes more apparent every day.

rbj on December 18, 2013 at 4:15 PM

WTF?
Insurance companies not making rational decisions in favor of 0bamacrap ? I suspect bambi underwriting them.

freedomfirst on December 18, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Straight up Fascism.

Incredible what has happened to what once was a “country of laws”.

aquaviva on December 18, 2013 at 4:18 PM

I thought Aetna was gaining some testicular fortitude. Guess not.

So, if I’m a consumer who navigated this crap highway and paid my premium on time, so what if others procrastinated and bought Christmas presents instead? They get a free month and I don’t?

Banana Republic.

matthew8787 on December 18, 2013 at 4:18 PM

I just love autocratic grace periods for not following the law.

Ain’t fascism great folks?!

Murphy9 on December 18, 2013 at 4:07 PM

You are such an idiot. Nonpartisan helpfully explained that Hitler was an archconservative. Why can’t you rubes grasp revised history?

stvnscott on December 18, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Sounds like it is all fixed and this thing will be running like a Nascar by 1-6-14. Then again….

rjoco1 on December 18, 2013 at 4:20 PM

If the GOP had more than one seed between all of them they would vociferously demand that the DOJ prosecute all those insurance companies for failing to obey federal law.

As for the sly HHS threat, any of you resident lefties want to chime in on what you would be saying if Dubya’s administration had used such language?

Bishop on December 18, 2013 at 4:20 PM

At what point is some reporter going to disclose how much slush fund money Obama has to work with (“risk corridor” funding), and how quickly will he burn thru it?

I am hearing that he might exhaust the 3 years of funding in the first six months, and the House won’t give him another dime, for damn certain.

There has to be a limit someplace. Be nice to know some facts.

matthew8787 on December 18, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Time is money and guess who pays due to the delays?

Chessplayer on December 18, 2013 at 4:22 PM

The fascism of this regime becomes more apparent every day.

rbj on December 18, 2013 at 4:15 PM

Hey, he wouldn’t have to do it if you reich-wing extremists didn’t block everything in Congress. He’s following the clause in the constitution that says “Whenever the opposing party takes over in Congress, the president may rule by decree.” /

Doomberg on December 18, 2013 at 4:22 PM

NOT

LEGAL

TX-96 on December 18, 2013 at 4:24 PM

I just love autocratic grace periods for not following the law.

Ain’t fascism great folks?!

Murphy9 on December 18, 2013 at 4:07 PM

This and the dream act passed by a simple act of not following the law.
But, you know, when the opposition is serving kool aid. /

AllahsNippleHair on December 18, 2013 at 4:29 PM

NOT

LEGAL

TX-96 on December 18, 2013 at 4:24 PM

NOT

RELEVANT

/0

antipc on December 18, 2013 at 4:29 PM

It’s. The. all-new-all-vinyl-just-made-it-up-today Law.

de rigueur on December 18, 2013 at 4:32 PM

But, but, but….

It’s the Law!

D-fusit on December 18, 2013 at 4:38 PM

…You have to obey the law!…others?….not so much…

KOOLAID2 on December 18, 2013 at 4:39 PM

10/01/13

11/31/13

12/15/13

12/23/13

12/31/13

1/10/14

3/31/14

……

Never

Obama college professor:

“Ok, Barack, you’ve had 12 extensions, it;s time to sit your lazy arse down and do your assignment. No more excuses.”

MichaelGabriel on December 18, 2013 at 4:39 PM

The ‘messiah’, small M, has made it so.

AllahsNippleHair on December 18, 2013 at 4:40 PM

There has to be a limit someplace. Be nice to know some facts.

matthew8787 on December 18, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Don’t hold your breath. With Obama and the complicit media there is no limit for anything.

neuquenguy on December 18, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Vito Obama is giving them an offer that they can’t refuse.

Which CEO will be the first to admit that he woke up with a horse’s head in his bed?

BuckeyeSam on December 18, 2013 at 4:47 PM

And if I still don’t pay?

That is an interesting question. Do they get the 3 month grace period since they were accepted for insurance before they paid? Of course, anyone who is sick enough to reach their deductible in 3 months is going to want to pay. The 3 month grace period for non-payment is worth much more in the last 3 months of the year.

Laurence on December 18, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Looks as if “that day” has come for the insurance companies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTtpWgrhS78

BuckeyeSam on December 18, 2013 at 4:51 PM

I am at my wits end.

To state the obvious:
1) The Rat/communist government does not follow any law or constitution
2) The “opposition” does not intend to get the current Rats/communists out of power
3) I do not know of a case where communists, once in power, relinquish power by obyding election results (rigging elections is Rats/communists specialty) – and I know what I am talking about, I grew under communism

To clarify the problem:
1) The debasing/inflation of currency I believe is well under way (how else to pay for these endless debts).
2) Confiscation of my property by the government is only a matter of time, as I actually work for living.

I know all of that, yet I feel powerless to do anything about it. What can I do, move to Russia?

3558 on December 18, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Guaranteed issue (no pre-existing conditions) means they can do this anyway.

I believe that the grace period for preexisting conditions only applies during the sign up period: until the end of March this year and the end of December in subsequent years… unless they change THAT by royal decree.

Laurence on December 18, 2013 at 4:53 PM

“So let it be written. So let it be done.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O8gTIr4lys

BuckeyeSam on December 18, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Then February 10th, then March 10th, then…

/until the insurers go bankrupt

Ward Cleaver on December 18, 2013 at 5:06 PM

The only reason Obama and Democrats get away with this is because the Republican party is nearly on his side.
But lets go ahead and move further left of center as a party, that will certainly fix things!

astonerii on December 18, 2013 at 5:07 PM

It’s not much of a surprise that an organization that embraced criminal fraud to foist the EpicClusterFark on the American people has also decided to resort to extortion.

The fictional SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) is now real – with the headquarters being in the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington DC.

(Side note – right now, there are 254 carriers partnering with the government on the federal / state exchanges. Two states, NH and WV only have 1 carrier on their exchanges. With moves like this, the carriers are going to be seriously rethinking their partnerships even with the federal government promises to help offset their risks / losses. Promises from this Administration are demonstrating very little value or duration.)

Athos on December 18, 2013 at 5:08 PM

Grandma, what’s a law?

Fallon on December 18, 2013 at 5:12 PM

No matter how messy the White House’s mismanagement of O-Care’s rollout gets, the insurance industry has no choice now but to try to clean it up.

Note it well; this is why there will be no groundswell of anger at the Democrats come election time. Stop counting on it.

The Democrats and their accomplices will do whatever it takes to make sure that doesn’t happen, be it payoffs, increasing the size/scope of subsidies and who qualifies for them, extensions, waivers, etc.

They’ll just print enough money to make sure it happens.

Midas on December 18, 2013 at 5:13 PM

That popcorn everyone’s been munching, eagerly awaiting this thing blowing up in their faces and destroying the Dems in November is going to get really stale as they pull out the stops to postpone/avoid the explosion.

Midas on December 18, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Grandma, what’s a law?

Fallon on December 18, 2013 at 5:12 PM

Hush now, and eat your peas.

oldroy on December 18, 2013 at 5:21 PM

I know all of that, yet I feel powerless to do anything about it. What can I do, move to Russia?

3558 on December 18, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Unnerving, isn’t it?

Midas on December 18, 2013 at 5:26 PM

I am confused. Why doesn’t anyone push back? He’s a bully. You only need to punch him once.

steveracer on December 18, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Midas on December 18, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Every desperate and feckless step taken to try to delay the inevitable only results in more popcorn being popped and consumed. They aren’t solving the problems, just delaying some and opening up many more new ones to the light of day.

By the time we get to Nov 2014, our consumption of popcorn will do more to raise the price of corn than the EPA’s ethanol initiatives have done.

Athos on December 18, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Dec 10th? Why not the 11th? Or the 12th? The 15th is a nice round number too.

Hey! If I partially pay, will the insurance company partially pay my bill? Or will the doctor/hospital only partially cure me?

Nothing like an administration that makes up the rules as it goes along.

Haven’t seen anything like this since kindergarten.

GarandFan on December 18, 2013 at 5:32 PM

but is there any insurer bold enough to sue the feds over it, knowing that they might retaliate by booting them from the exchanges just as millions of new consumers are being forced onto them?

Considering the death spiral coming via unhealthy-weighted risk pools, I’m thinking the safest place for these insurers to be is outside the exchanges! This is the reason why there are so few plans already on the exchanges!

It’s like being “asked” to play Russian Roulette and HHS keeps loading more rounds in the revolver. The safest place is not to play!

dominigan on December 18, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Here’s another perfect place to apply the Slaughter Rule.

Deem everyone enrolled, and send out the bills and cards.

I can’t wait till, oh, Jan 3 or 4 when we start hearing horror stories about doctors declining to treat people who don’t have cash or an active insurance policy.

Unless….stories like that are banned between now and then.

BobMbx on December 18, 2013 at 6:05 PM

I know all of that, yet I feel powerless to do anything about it. What can I do, move to Russia?

3558 on December 18, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Unnerving, isn’t it?

Midas on December 18, 2013 at 5:26 PM

To say the least. I wander if you are aiming for the understatement of the year, or you are just naturally mild mannered Mid-westerner, or …?

3558 on December 18, 2013 at 6:11 PM

It’s only the deadline for payment that’s changed, not the December 23rd deadline for enrollment

or “Monday” as I like to call it.

JusDreamin on December 18, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Pittsburgh hearts Obamacare – NOT!

http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5270405-74/navigators-allegheny-county#axzz2nn6Ag72R

Philly on December 18, 2013 at 6:32 PM

Grandma, what’s a law?

Fallon on December 18, 2013 at 5:12 PM

Oh Honey, lets save that for a bedtime story, OK?

antipc on December 18, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Texas-based Cardon in September said it would return $800,000 in navigator grants for work in four states because it faced too much scrutiny from congressional Republicans and some state insurance commissioners over its programs.

Can you show us how you’re spending that grant?

Repressed…I’m being repressed….

BobMbx on December 18, 2013 at 6:48 PM

This is why you don’t do business with the mafia: When they “ask” you for something, there’s no way to say no.

Supp’d with the Devil. Spoon not long enough.

David Blue on December 18, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Deem everyone enrolled, and send out the bills and cards.

BobMbx on December 18, 2013 at 6:05 PM

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.

David Blue on December 18, 2013 at 6:55 PM