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US lays out steps to smooth Obamacare coverage in January

Published on Dec 13, 2013 6:13 AM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The Obama administration called on private health insurers on Thursday to make it easier for Americans to obtain coverage and access medical services starting January 1, even if technical troubles or other issues prevent timely enrollment in Obamacare plans.

The administration formally extended its December 15 enrollment deadline for obtaining insurance benefits on January 1 to December 23, and said it would consider further delays if "extraordinary circumstances" prevent consumers from enrolling.

It also set out a special enrollment period for consumers unable to sign up for insurance because of errors with the website or other segments of its insurance marketplace technology.

In addition, the administration extended a federal insurance program for people with severe health conditions, and urged insurance companies to provide retroactive coverage beginning January 1 to consumers who sign up for coverage after the first of the year or make their first premium payments sometime in January.

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