The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday it is requiring insurers to accept payment for new health policies under Obamacare up until Dec. 31 for coverage to start on Jan. 1.
The ruling was part of several tweaks to its deadlines, as HHS officials said they now will allow those under a federal insurance program that aids those with pre-existing conditions to wait until Jan. 31 to transition to a new plan.
HHS also said it will "strongly encourage" insurers to treat out-of-network caregivers as in-network in acute cases, as well as refill prescriptions covered under previous plans through January. Insurer groups had no immediate comment on the changes.
In other healthcare developments:
The administration says a former Microsoft executive is taking over as the top tech honcho for HealthCare.gov, President Barack Obama's problem-plagued health insurance website.
Kurt DelBene will replace White House adviser Jeffrey Zients.
Zients, a management consultant, was sent in by Obama to overhaul the website after its disastrous launch in October. While no one is saying "Mission Accomplished," Zients says he has met his goal and the site is working smoothly for the majority of users.
DelBene's appointment was announced Tuesday by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. He is married to Rep. Suzan DelBene, a Washington state Democrat, who also has a technology background.
The website is the insurance portal for Obama's health care law.