CNN — Health insurers announced Wednesday they will give people buying coverage under Obamacare more time to make the first payment.
America's Health Insurance Providers, the industry trade group, said consumers now have until Jan. 10 to make their first payment for coverage retroactive to Jan. 1.
The deadline to sign up for insurance that kicks in Jan. 1 remains the same -- Dec. 23 in the vast majority of the country.
Before Wednesday's announcement, consumers had to make the first payment by Jan.1 in order to guarantee coverage starting that day.
While they won't be insured until they make that first payment, enrollees will be retroactively covered back to Jan. 1 as long as they send the first check by Jan 10.
"The short time period in which to complete these steps, particularly around the holidays, combined with the ongoing technical issues with HealthCare.gov have raised concerns that some consumers' coverage may not be able to begin on January 1," according to a statement by the AHIP board of directors.
"Health plans are voluntarily making this one-time change to the payment deadline to help protect consumers from potential gaps in their coverage caused by the ongoing technical problems" with the Obamacare website, the statement said.