website woes force administration to extend pre-existing conditions plan for sickest patients

WASHINGTON – Technology problems with President Barack Obama’s health care website are forcing the administration to extend a federal insurance plan for some of the sickest patients by a month.

The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan was supposed to disappear Jan. 1, because insurers will no longer be able to turn away patients with health issues next year.

But the website problems that have kept uninsured people from signing up for new coverage under Obama’s law also created obstacles for patients in the federal high-risk insurance plan and similar programs run by states.

Addressing the anxiety, the Health and Human Services Department will keep the plan going through January. The decision was confirmed Thursday by a person who was briefed on it, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of an official announcement.