CareSource extends premium deadline for new health insurance

Dayton-based CareSource is giving its customers more time to pay premiums for health plans they enrolled in through the state’s health insurance marketplace.

The previous deadline was Jan. 10 for marketplace shoppers — who enrolled in a plan by Dec. 24 — to pay their first month’s premiums and activate their policies.

But millions of visitors flooded the HealthCare.gov website just before Christmas causing delays in processing through the federal website for marketplace enrollment in Ohio and 35 other states.

As a result, CareSource has joined Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kaiser Permanente and several other marketplace health insurers that are voluntarily extending their deadlines for premium payments. CareSource customers have until Jan. 31 to pay their first month’s premium for retroactive coverage beginning Jan. 1.

“We are encouraged 11,000 Ohioans have chosen CareSource Just4Me, and we are pleased to offer additional time to finalize payment for January coverage,” said Scott Streator, vice president of the nonprofit’s health insurance marketplace division.

Enrollment figures released Monday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that approximately 2.2 million Americans — including about 40,000 Ohioans — selected marketplace plans through the first three months of the enrollment period that ends March 31.

But it’s still unclear how many consumers who selected plans have received their billing and enrollment materials and paid their premiums, leading critics to question the numbers.

“We know how many people have selected plans, but we don’t know how many people have actually paid for coverage,” said Greg Lawson of The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions. “They won’t actually have insurance until they pay their premiums.”

CareSource said 70 percent of its members who enrolled for January coverage have paid premiums for this month, and some have even paid February premiums. The company said it would contact its customers to inform them of the extended payment deadline, and will offer several ways for them to make their payments, including online, by phone or by mail.

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