Due to very high demand for health insurance through Covered California, the deadline to enroll for coverage that would start Jan. 1 has been extended through today to accommodate the surge in interest.

The service center will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 16 and Dec. 17.

“The spike in interest we are seeing in the last few days tells us there is continued demand for quality, affordable coverage,” said Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “We already have enrolled more consumers this year for Jan. 1 coverage than we did last year.”

Covered California has heard from certified enrollers, including agents, that they still are processing thousands of applications and appreciate the additional time to ensure consumers receive coverage for all of 2016.

“We want to make sure everyone calling for coverage gets the help they need,” Lee said.

Consumers should know there are a multitude of ways to enroll, including online at www.CoveredCA.com. Enrollment locations can be found by visiting www.CoveredCA.com/get-help/local and searching for enrollment help by ZIP code. In addition, hundreds of locations with Covered California signage mark places where consumers can enroll confidentially and at no cost in a variety of languages. Consumers can also call Covered California directly at (800) 300-1506 to enroll over the phone.

Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31, 2016. Consumers who enroll after Dec. 17 will have their coverage start in either February or March.

About Covered California

Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California, in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans. Covered California helps individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that is available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Small businesses can purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.