New York State’s health insurance exchange has extended its enrollment deadline to Saturday, Dec. 17.

The health care exchange, which was previously set to close Thursday, allows New Yorkers to buy health insurance – in many instances with financial assistance – that will cover them beginning Jan. 1.

The extension was prompted by an avalanche of demand, state health department executive director Donna Frescatore said in a statement, noting that the consumer service center has fielded more than a million calls since the start of enrollment on Nov. 1.

The extension was declared to give consumers “a little more time to select a health plan,” Frescatore said.

The health care exchange can be accessed online at or by calling 1-855-355-5777. Customer service hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.