White House: Could extend Obamacare deadlines again

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from CNBC,

Scrambling to get as many people as possible health coverage by Jan. 1 despite Obamacare’s botched roll-out, the Obama administration ordered insurers to give customers a slight break on bill payments, and “strongly” suggested a series of other breaks Thursday.

And administration officials also warned they may again extend the Dec. 23 deadline for enrolling in Obamacare insurance plans for the start of the new year should “exceptional circumstances pose barriers to customers enrolling by that date” via HealthCare.gov and other government-run health exchanges. Those exchanges have seen drastically fewer numbers of people sign up for health plans than originally projected.

“We are providing additional flexibility to consumers across the country to ensure they have access to coverage options that begin on Jan. 1, 2014,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as she announced the latest series of measures.

Sebelius urged insurers to begin covering enrollees by Jan. 1, even if those people make their first premiums payment later in January. Aetna has already said it will allow Obamacare plan enrollees until Jan. 8 to make their first premium payments for plans beginning Jan. 1.

She also announced that HHS is now requiring that insurers accept payments as late as Dec. 31 for selected Obamacare plans that will begin Jan. 1, instead of leaving that payment deadline up to the insurers.

And she strongly urged insurers to accept partial premium payments for coverage that begins that day.

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