Groups helping Mainers figure out their health insurance options on the federal marketplace said Monday that they’re keeping busy ahead of the looming coverage deadlines.

The deadline to sign up on the federal marketplace for coverage that kicks in Jan. 1 had been Monday, but federal officials announced that they extended that deadline through today.

Mainers looking at plans offered by Maine Health Community Options, one of the two insurers offering coverage in the state, will also have a little bit more time to sign up for coverage. The co-op announced last week that it’s giving residents until Dec. 31 to sign up for coverage that kicks in by the new year.

Karen Turgeon said her and the six other navigators who help people sign up for coverage at the Portlandbased Opportunity Alliance have been tightly booked for weeks. But they’ve been hearing more urgency the past couple of days from people who want to ensure they have coverage by Jan. 1, particularly those who’ve had insurance and are losing or switching their plans.

Meanwhile, people that have never had insurance or haven’t had coverage for several months say they don’t mind waiting another month, she said.

“Some people have called and they’ve said, ‘I haven’t had insurance ever or I haven’t had insurance for months. I know I’m calling last-minute, so it’s fine if I don’t get in until after. … Waiting another month doesn’t hurt,”’ Turgeon said.

The federal government has said roughly 1,480 Mainers picked a plan on the marketplace last month, up from about 270 in October. In total, about 1,750 Mainers enrolled through November. But that’s still only a fraction of the roughly 250,000 people the state has estimated could use the marketplace.

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