Obamacare website administrator apologizes

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration offered its first formal apology to Americans and Congress for the botched rollout of the website for people to enroll in the President's signature health care plan. The rocky start for the website is the subject of a congressional hearing Tuesday.

Here are the latest developments:

The head of the federal agency in charge of creating the problem-plagued Obamacare website said Tuesday that some people with individual coverage must get new policies that include benefits that were unavailable before the reforms of the Affordable Care Act.

Marilyn Tavenner, who runs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told a congressional committee that "these individuals in a small group, our individual markets, had no protections" before the reforms became law.

Such consumers "could be kicked out any time for pre-existing conditions" or if they faced needing hospitalization or cancer treatment that their policies failed to cover, Tavenner said, adding that the reforms now protect them by requiring a minimum standard of coverage.

The initial number of people enrolled for health coverage was expected to be "small," Tavenner said

The first figure for how many people enrolled so far would be available in mid-November, she said.

The administration had expected the initial enrollment to be small, Tavenner said, noting that the enrollment period ends on March 31.

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