Originally posted December 12, 2013 by Allison Bell on https://www.benefitspro.com

The Obama administration has issued new regs that public exchanges – and participating carriers – can use to cope with startup problems. Most importantly, it pushes the selection and payment deadline for Jan.1 plan coverage to Dec. 23.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has given the batch of “interim final regulations” the title “Maximizing January 1, 2014, Coverage Opportunities” and is preparing to publish the regs in the Federal Register next week.

The Dec. 23 deadline applies to all sorts of exchange plans, including Small Business Health Options Program QHPs, multi-state plans and standalone dental pans, officials said. The original deadline was Dec. 15.

Insurers selling commercial plans through the exchanges with coverage dates starting Jan. 1 now must accept premium payments as late as Dec. 31.

State-based exchanges can set later deadlines for either individual or SHOP coverage.

Managers of state-based exchanges who want to offer more flexibility can push the payment deadline for coverage that starts Jan. 1 back to Jan. 31, “if a QHP issuer is willing to accept such enrollments,” officials said.

Officials also included rules for provider directories.

If a QHP issuer has trouble keeping its provider directory up to date, it should add consumer safeguards, such as using the version of a provider directory available to consumers in a given month to determine whether care from a provider will be classified as in-network care, officials said.

It was the second PPACA-related delay a day after HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before Congress.