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By Caroline Humer and Lewis Krauskopf
(Reuters) - Insurance companies are struggling with a new request by the Obama administration to make sure people receive medical benefits under healthcare reform come January 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.
BP, which remains weighed down by huge compensation payouts linked to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster in 2010, said its profit after tax had tumbled to $3.5 billion (2.54 billion euros) in the three months to the end of September compared with the third quarter in 2012.