Deadline nears to pay for health insurance

The deadline to pay for health insurance for a Jan.1 start date is Friday at midnight
January 9, 2014 4:01:14 PM PST
Friday is the last day to pay for a new health insurance plan for coverage effective Jan. 1, but people who got their checks in on time are having problems.

For 62-year-old Peggy Rundell, of Chapel Hill the Affordable Care Act is like a lifeline.

"I'm saving $700 a month and have a much better policy than I had," Rundell said. "I am thrilled.  I am absolutely thrilled!"

But she hasn't been so happy with the company offering her the policy - Blue Cross Blue Shield.

"I've had a very hard time negotiating BCBS the simplest thing, of getting them to cash my check," Rundell said.

She said she signed up over Thanksgiving and sent a check on Dec. 30. Since then, she has checked in every day with her bank or Blue Cross Blue Shield.

"I didn't know if I was going to get the coverage actually completed because the check wasn't getting cashed," Rundell said. "It's effective January 1st if you pay by the 10th."

Rundell learned Thursday that they do have her check and she does have insurance, but stories like hers aren't uncommon.

Blue Cross Blue Shield spokesperson Lew Borman said the company was swamped with last-minute sign ups, which jammed up the system. He said people who have plans and pay for them before the deadline of Friday at midnight will have insurance, and it will be retroactive to Jan. 1.

"We have beefed up our staff in terms of customer service, we really have a swat team of experts trying to resolve people's issues and to make sure they have coverage," Borman said.

People can sign up for coverage through the end of March. As long as checks are postmarked Jan. 10, coverage will be retroactive.

After March 31, the penalties will kick in.

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield and health care reform, click here: http://www.bcbsnc.com/content/campaigns/readyforreform/index.htm

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