The insurance industry has decided to help the Obama administration’s effort to maximize the number of people who are covered next month. On Wednesday, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) announced that they voluntarily decided to give new consumers an extra ten days to make their first premium payment.

Previously if you selected a plan by December 23rd you need to make your first premium payment by December 31st if you wanted to be covered starting in January. Now as long as you make your first payment by January 10th most of the insurance industry will provide you coverage for the whole month. Your coverage will retroactively apply starting on January 1st.

December 23rd still remains the deadline for choosing a plan but you know have more time to pay your first bill. Of course given the back end problems with the exchange and the industries habit of trying to duck paying claims, I would recommend no one taking advantage of this extra time. The best way to assure you are covered starting in January is to select a plan and directly contact your insurer now to confirm your information and pay your first premium. That way there is still some time to correct any issues.

Photo by boo lee, used under Creative Commons license