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When and How to Make Your Payment to Start ACA Coverage

 

You’ve done the research and found the health plan that’s right for you. Now it’s time to complete the enrollment process by making your first payment.

Paying bills is no one’s favorite task. But, as your partner in getting coverage, we want to outline when and how to pay for your Affordable Care Act plan. This will help make things easier for you and ensure your payment arrives on time.

 

 

Making the First Payment

Your first payment is the most important payment you’ll make after signing up for a health insurance plan. Until you make your first payment, we can’t start your coverage or begin to pay for your health care on the date your coverage begins. Your doctor’s visits and important prescriptions, for example, won’t be covered.

If you’re a new or returning customer on the Health Insurance Marketplace, you’ll need to select a plan and enroll by Dec. 15 for coverage to begin Jan. 1. Then, you’ll need to make your first payment by Jan. 1, 2017.

To help ensure that your ID cards arrive on time, however, it’s best to make your first payment by early December.

Meeting the payment deadline helps ensure your coverage can begin as planned for January 2017. After that first payment, all monthly premium payments are due by the first day of each month.

Missing the enrollment and payment deadlines is a deal-breaker. Open enrollment for 2017 coverage ends on Jan. 31, 2017. That’s the last day to sign up unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. If your marketplace plan was discontinued for 2017, you may be eligible for a special enrollment period.

 

 

Ways to Pay Your Monthly Premium

Although your first payment is due Jan. 1, 2017, keep in mind that it takes a few days to process. When you submit your application on Healthcare.gov, the marketplace compiles the information and sends it to BCBSNC. We then process it and get everything set up in our systems.

Once we receive and process the information from the marketplace, here’s how you can pay:

  • Pay by phone: You can pay by phone by calling 888-802-2386. Make sure to have your credit card on hand. And be prepared to enter the date of birth and Social Security number of the insured person to verify coverage. You may also use a one-time bank draft through pay-by-phone.
  • Pay online at bcbsnc.com/pay. We accept online payments in the form of bank drafts and credit/debit cards issued by Visa, MasterCard and Discover. You’ll need your Social Security number or the Health Insurance Marketplace ID number, your date of birth and your zip code to pay your first month’s premium. You may also set up automatic payments by bank or credit card draft.

You may still receive a bill even after you’ve made your first payment, online or by phone. If you have confirmation of your initial payment for that month, then you may simply keep the initial bill for your records.

 

 

How to Confirm Your Payment

  • Once you make an online payment, you’ll see a confirmation screen that you can print for your records.
  • If you choose paperless billing, you’ll receive an email confirmation of your payment.
  • You can also call 888-802-2386 to verify your payment or to get answers to any other billing questions you may have. Keep in mind that it will take a few days for your payment to be processed. If you call immediately after paying, your payment might not be in our system.

We understand how critical ID cards are for verifying coverage with your doctor, health care professional or pharmacy for treatment. That’s why we offer several options for verification of coverage for marketplace customers, including temporary verification and electronic ID card options.

BCBSNC wants to make the process of paying for your coverage as simple as we can. We know it’s important to you and your family that your coverage begins on time. By following these tips, you can help ensure a smooth transition when the new year starts.

About Kyle Marshall

Kyle Marshall, a senior communications specialist at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, writes about the health care industry and provides communications counsel and support to the company's executive team.

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