White House Takes Steps to Ensure Health Care Enrollment Runs Smoothly

With Obamacare deadline approaching, the government wants to make the process as easy as possible. 

Posted: 12/13/2013 02:15 PM EST

Yesterday, in a phone press conference, the White House announced some of the major steps it's taking to ensure that enrolling for health care in the marketplace is easier for Americans.

One of those steps includes requiring health insurance companies to accept premium payments for health insurance up until December 31. This extension will allow for people to still have health care plans kicking in on Jan 1, 2014. The president's administration also officially announced its extension of the enrollment deadline from December 15 to the 23rd. They also said that they are open to extending the deadline even further if needed.

They also stressed the importance of making the transition from one health plan to another a lot smoother, without delays in treatment.

Other changes they announced included:

— Making sure that people have accurate information about the health care plans they can choose from, including providing online lists of prescription drugs that plans cover.

— Special enrollment for people who have had issues signing up online up to December 23. 

— For those who are enrolled in the federal Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), they have extra time to enroll in the Marketplace to avoid any gaps in coverage.

— Strongly encouraging health insurance companies to honor out-of-network prescription plans in the month of January so that people do not go without medications as they transition into their new plans.

“We are providing additional flexibility to consumers across the country to ensure they have access to coverage options that begin on January 1, 2014,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

She added, “The Department is committed to providing consumers with the information they need to pick the coverage option that works for them and their families.”

This announcement comes on the wave of serious issues with the HealthCare.Gov site, health insurance companies dropping their existing clients and lower than expected enrollment thus far.

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(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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