Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues…

I am covered in a Marketplace health plan now and want to renew that same policy for 2018. Currently, though, I am behind on my premium payments. I haven’t paid the November premium; I know I have a grace period, through the end of January, to get caught up. Meanwhile, if I at least pay my January premium, will that ensure my coverage remains in effect for next year?

No.  When you are in a grace period that spans a calendar year (that is, the grace period begins in 2017 and ends in 2018), your insurance company will send you a bill for your January premium and will also bill you for your past-due premium debt.  If you only pay the January premium, the insurance company can apply that payment to the amount of 2017 premium debt that you still owe.  Unless you catch up on your 2017 premium debt and pay the January premium by the end of the grace period, your insurer can cancel your 2018 coverage and retroactively terminate your 2017 coverage to the last day of the first month of your grace period. This will be the case whether or not your insurance company has adopted the past-due premium collection practice.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.