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Exchange Mum on Premium Payments

Covered California officials yesterday said it’s still unclear how many enrollees who started getting health coverage Jan. 1 actually paid for it.

“We are compiling that information now,” said Larry Hicks, information officer at Covered California. “It should come out in mid-February.”

Californians originally needed to meet a Dec. 23 deadline to sign up for coverage that would start Jan. 1. The deadline was bumped to Dec. 27.

Premiums for that coverage originally were due at the start of January, but given the short turnaround for people signing up, getting invoices and paying those invoices in time, the exchange board extended the premium payment deadline to Jan. 5. Then exchange health insurers agreed on an additional deadline delay until Jan. 15.

A final tally on the number of those 500,218 enrollees who paid their premiums was expected at the start of February, according to exchange executive director Peter Lee, who spoke to reporters on Jan. 21. He said at the time that “about three-quarters” of Jan. 1 start-date enrollees had paid their premiums.

The additional time, Hicks said, is to get the proper information from all 11 insurers.

“I’m not sure what their backlog is like,” Hicks said. “Mostly it’s because the deadline [for premium payments] got pushed back twice already.

The premium payment information will be released when the mid-month totals on enrollment for January also are released, Hicks said.

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Capitol Desk