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Feds try to smooth bumpy health care transition

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a batch of measures Thursday to minimize disruptions during the transition.

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
The Associated Press

12/13/2013

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is strongly encouraging health insurance companies to cut consumers some slack in January when new coverage takes effect under the president's overhaul.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (seh-BEEL'-yuhs) announced a batch of measures Thursday to minimize disruptions during the transition.

Some are recommendations, such as asking insurers to allow customers to temporarily keep filling prescriptions covered by a previous plan. Others are binding, such as requiring the companies to accept anyone who pays his or her premium by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31.

The administration also extended by one month a special insurance program for patients with serious health problems. The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan was scheduled to expire Jan. 1.

Though intended to help, the new measures also make things more complicated.

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