Blue Cross extends deadline for off-market plans

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan's largest health insurer is giving some people an extra week to buy insurance to be covered on Jan. 1.

Blue Cross Blue Shield said Monday that consumers not qualifying for tax subsidies on the new insurance marketplace have until Dec. 31 to pick a plan. The "off-marketplace" plans are identical to those on the healthcare.gov website but only available to those earning too much to receive tax credits.

The announcement came the same day the government gave people an extra day until the end of Tuesday to sign up for marketplace plans to take effect Jan. 1.

Blue Cross has 400-plus employees working at its call center, an eight-fold increase in recent weeks. The insurer estimates half of Michigan residents buying their own insurance won't qualify for premium subsidies.

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