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Anthem gives exchange plan advice

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Many public exchange plan issuers are trying to cope with high volume, technical problems and consumer confusion by giving would-be private plan enrollees even  more time to pay for coverage.

One of the leaders in the exchange plan market – a unit of WellPoint Inc. –  has given customers until Jan. 31 to pay for January coverage. If individual customers who chose QHPs by Dec. 23 make their payments by Jan. 31, it will be effective retroactive to Jan. 1, the company says.

The company has posted an explanation of the policy and information about making payments on its website.

Anthem warns that some consumers who’ve picked QHPs might not have received bills.

“If you have not received your initial payment letter, do not worry,” the company says in a letter to Connecticut residents. “It may be due to the high volume of late December enrollments. Bills will continue to be processed and mailed over the next week.”

In Connecticut, consumers can use credit cards or checks, but not cash, to pay in person at an office in Wallingford, Conn. A customer who has an initial payment letter can pay online or by mail.

A new enrollee who needs a member identification card can print a temporary card online within about five businesses after the company has received the enrollee’s payment.

Anthem notes that it’s having a hard time answering questions over the telephone, because of high call volume, and that it’s trying to get consumers answers to questions in about two business days by adding a personal mailbox feature to its website.

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