Tennessee's biggest health insurer is giving more time for those signing up for health care coverage under Obamacare to pay their premiums.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee said Tuesday it will extend until the end of January the deadline for premiums to be paid for health care plans offered through the new health insurance marketplace. The plans became effective on Jan. 1, but the Chattanooga-based BlueCross is granting until Jan. 31 for premiums to be paid on the new policies to help reduce the possibility of gaps in coverage.

"We wanted to provide as much flexibility as possible for our members — many of whom are new to the process of purchasing insurance," said Kelly Paulk, director of product strategy for BlueCross. "Payment is the final step in the process. Consumers can apply and select a plan, but it is payment of the premium that completes enrollment and puts their coverage into effect."

BlueCross members who have signed up for the new plans but not yet paid their premiums can see a doctor or fill a prescription and submit these bills to BlueCross after they make their first premium payment. Payment can be made online, via mail by check, or by calling 1-855-484-0282.

Read more from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.