By Melissa Garcia

DENVER (CBS4) – There’s a last-minute rush to avoid an unwanted lapse in health insurance. Connect for Health Colorado has extended the deadline to enroll until Thursday after an overwhelming number of people couldn’t get through to enroll in time for the original deadline on Tuesday.

Officials say customers have to at least start the enrollment process by Thursday for coverage to begin in January.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The deadline extension comes as a relief to customers who waited until the last minute to get enrolled and ran into problems.

“It was a little nerve wracking, because it was like, what if something happens to me before I’m covered?” said John Schone. “I was online and kept on getting these popup emails saying ‘the deadline is coming, the deadline is coming,’ and I was trying to get online, and it said ‘invalid, invalid.’”

RELATED STORIES: Connect For Health Colorado Story Archive

Others got a busy signal at the Connect for Health Colorado call center.

CBS4's Melissa Garcia interviews Luke Clarke with Connect for Health Colorado (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Melissa Garcia interviews Luke Clarke with Connect for Health Colorado (credit: CBS)

“We’ve been experiencing volumes beyond anything we’ve seen before,” said Luke Clarke with Connect for Health Colorado. “I hope it doesn’t happen again, but I can’t rule it out. If everybody tries to fit in the door at the same time, it just doesn’t work.”

According to Clarke, more than 116,000 people have enrolled so far this period for the tax credit program that reduces the cost of monthly premiums.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

To avoid potential problems getting enrolled in Thursday’s extended deadline Clarke recommends going to connectforhealthco.com, clicking on “Get Help,” and then clicking on “Have a Broker Call You.” Fill out your information and wait for a call back from a trained specialist who can help you choose the right plan to meet your needs.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“You can meet face-to-face with somebody, go over all the questions, look at your individual circumstance, and look at the plans that are available to you, and any tax credit that might be available,” said Clarke.

Connect for Health Colorado operates 30 in-person enrollment centers across the state. For hours and locations visit connectforhealthco.com/person-help/enrollment-centers.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to mkgarcia@cbs.com.

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