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PCIP program extended one month

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Enrollees in the federal Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will have another month to stay there while they search for PPACA coverage, the Obama administration announced Friday.

Sick patients on the temporary health plan now can buy an additional month of PCIP coverage through April 30.

The one-month extension is the program’s third, and the latest delay for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The program was due to end on March 31, the same day as the deadline of PPACA’s first open enrollment. But PCIP’s website announced the extension Friday amid concerns that some of the nation’s sickliest patients won’t be able to find and buy health coverage ahead of the March 31 deadline.

“As part of our continuing effort to help smooth consumers’ transition into Marketplace coverage, we are allowing those covered by PCIP additional time to shop for new coverage while they receive the ongoing care and treatment they need,” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesman Aaron Albright said in a statement.

The program offers health coverage to patients turned away by carriers, and was intended to end after 2013 as the pre-existing condition provisions of the law went into effect. But the administration extended the program first until January, and then until March 31.

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