NEW YORK CITY — If you're looking for a health insurance plan that starts Jan. 1 through New York state's Affordable Care Act marketplace, you have until the end of Saturday to sign up.
New York State of Health has extended its deadline for enrollment in or renewal of plans taking effect Jan. 1 through Dec. 17, state officials announced Thursday. The original deadline was Dec. 15.
Officials attributed the two-day extension to significant interest in health plans available through the exchange.
“NY State of Health is having the busiest open enrollment period yet and we want consumers to have a little more time to select a health plan for January 1, 2017,” New York State of Health Executive Director Donna Frescatore said in a statement.
The marketplace's customer service center has answered more than one million calls since this year's open enrollment period launched Nov. 1, and fielded an average of 46,000 calls per day this week, according to the state. The New York State of Health website has also seen a spike in users.
In 2016, enrollment in state exchange programs rose 33 percent compared to the previous year, with more than 2.8 million New Yorkers enrolled — 15 percent of the state’s population. Over half of those enrolled in the health plans lived in New York City.
Demand for plans under the Affordable Care Act — commonly known as Obamacare — persists in spite of Republicans' stated determination to repeal the law.
The 2017 health plan open enrollment period throughout the country ends Jan. 31. Coverage for New Yorkers who sign up by Jan. 15 will begin Feb. 1. The final deadline is Jan. 31, and those signing up by that date will see their coverage start March 1.