The New York Times (12/19, Abelson, Subscription Publication) reports that the majority of American consumers seeking coverage through a health insurance exchange will be able to participate in a delay in paying the first premium. Under the plan, which was urged by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, policies will go into effect on January 1, but initial payments will be due on January 10. The deadline for enrollment in those plans is still December 23 in most places. The Times notes that “The 10-day extension is unlikely to present any company with much risk. Many plans have large deductibles, requiring people to pay the doctor or hospital out of pocket before insurance payments kick in.” The final deadline for acquiring insurance coverage in the current open enrollment period is March 31.
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