SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The agency running California's health insurance exchange has extended the deadline for payments until January 15.

Covered California said Sunday that health coverage will continue to take effect on Jan. 1 but the payment deadline has been extended to prevent consumers from feeling rushed to pay recently received invoices.

The agency says payments must be received by Jan. 15, not just postmarked before that date.

The nine-day payment extension comes after the number of consumers signing up for insurance on California's health insurance exchange surged late last year, overwhelming the agency's website and call centers.

In late December, Covered California said more than 400,000 people had signed up for policies through the exchange.

AP-WF-01-05-14 1723GMT



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