(Reuters) Insurance companies are struggling with a new request by the Obama administration to make sure people receive medical benefits under healthcare reform come Jan. 1, even if they miss a sign-up deadline set for next Monday.

The government has sought to reassure consumers, already frustrated by technical problems that stalled access to its HealthCare.gov enrollment website in October and November, that those who need coverage starting on New Year’s Day will be able to sign up.

Last week, the administration appealed to the insurance industry to accept people who sought benefits past the Dec. 23 enrollment deadline for Jan. 1, and to consider approving retroactive coverage for consumers who signed up during the month of January.

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