Wednesday, April 23, 2014 · 3:41 a.m.

Leaders with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced that consumers who buy a plan through Obamacare's health insurance marketplace by Dec. 23 will have an extended deadline of Jan. 15 to pay the premium.

"Many people pay their premiums by check through the mail, and with postal volume high this time of year, we felt it important to give our marketplace customers a cushion with a Jan. 15 deadline," Kelly Paulk, director of product strategy for BCBST, said in a prepared statement.

The previous deadline was Dec. 31, but leaders created an extension because of technical issues with the website, according to a news release. 

BCBST leaders also offered tips for consumers who bought insurance through the federally run marketplace to confirm they are enrolled in a plan:

—Anyone who has enrolled in a plan and paid the first month's premium should get welcome materials from the insurer within 10 days. If not, consumers can call the customer service line at 1-800-318-2596 to verify enrollment has been completed. 

—Consumers should confirm that a payment has been made. When applying through, consumers should be directed to the insurer’s website to make arrangements for their premium payments. If not, call the insurance company directly to make payment. Making payment is necessary to put coverage into effect.

—It usually takes two business days and three days over the weekend for information to be transferred to and uploaded by the insurer. Consumers who enrolled in a BCBST plan can call 1-800-459-6363 to verify that the enrollment information was received.

—Anyone who hasn't started shopping yet but wants coverage by Jan. 1 has until Dec. 23 to enroll and make a payment before Jan. 15. 

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