HeaderIndividuals who began the enrollment process by midnight Tuesday will have until 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, to choose a health insurance plan that will be in effect March 1. Friday will be the last day to purchase coverage this year, except for customers who experience a qualifying life change event, such as marriage, divorce, having a child, losing your employer-sponsored insurance or moving to Colorado.

The extension was the result of a “surge” in enrollments before the previous deadline, according to Luke Clarke, director of communications for the state’s health insurance marketplace.

“The surge we have seen in recent days puts us at 12 percent above the level of plan selections we saw at this point last year,” Clarke told the Business Journal. “We saw so much volume Monday and Tuesday that we extended the signup deadline to Friday for those who started the process by midnight Tuesday.”

Clarke said he is unsure why there was a sudden rush to enroll, but added, “The state and national debates about the Affordable Care Act may be raising awareness and driving some of the business. But we are a new business. We opened three years and three months ago and we have seen double-digit growth year over year each year of our operation, so a lot of it may be the result of achieving better market penetration.”

Clarke said a surge in activity at deadlines — the Dec. 15 deadline for Jan. 1 coverage, and the end of open enrollment deadline on Jan. 31 — has been consistent with the past, and added “we went past 170,000 plan selections for this year on Monday morning and we are tracking at 12 percent more than last year’s.”

Any customers who are on hold at 6 p.m. Friday, or in the process of enrolling online, will be permitted to complete their enrollment. Customers can access help in enrolling by going to one of 18 statewide walk-in enrollment centers.

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