Beset by processing delays and customer confusion, two providers offering health coverage through California's new insurance exchange have pushed back their premium payment deadlines.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for Anthem Blue Cross of California said the company was pushing back its payment deadline to Jan. 31. Meanwhile, Kaiser Permanente set its new payment due date for Jan. 22.
Covered California had already extended its payment deadline for people with coverage beginning Jan. 1. The exchange's deadline is Wednesday, a change from the earlier deadline of Jan. 6.
A Covered California spokesman said the exchange's deadline would remain Wednesday.
"It's a deadline that was agreed unanimously to by the 11 health providers," spokesman Roy Kennedy said.
People who signed up for health coverage through the exchange have been complaining about long delays in receiving invoices needed to pay their first monthly premium. Others who made their payments are awaiting confirmation. Officials at Covered California and several insurance companies have acknowledged the raft of delays, including exceedingly long wait times for telephone customer service questions.
"We have extended the payment deadline for Jan. 1 coverage to Jan. 22 for those affected by processing delays, to allow all of our members time to receive and pay their invoices," Kaiser spokesman Chris Stenrud said.
"We have also started an outbound call campaign to reach members proactively to help them make payments on-line or by phone, and to know how to get needed care."
Stenrud noted that the "overwhelming majority" of those who enrolled in coverage that began this year have already received their invoices and paid for their coverage.
PHOTO: Enrollment operators take phone calls during the launch of Covered California in Rancho Cordova on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/ Randall Benton