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HARTFORD, CT — Connecticut residents will have until Jan. 15, 2021 to purchase health insurance through Access Health CT, but coverage won’t begin until Feb. 1, 2021.

The decision was announced hours after enrollment ended.

Connecticut residents who signed up for coverage before midnight will have coverage that starts on Jan. 1, 2015.

Consumers who enrolled in a plan for 2021 now have the option to keep the coverage they purchased or find a new plan; however if they make a plan change during this extension period, the new plan will have a start date of February 1, 2021 and they must pay the January bill for the original plan.

“We understand this year has been an extremely difficult year with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Access Health CT CEO James Michel said. “And we also know if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the value of our health. There is plenty to think about when choosing a health insurance plan and we want to make sure our customers are able to pick the best plan for themselves and their families. We hope this extension providing extra time allows Connecticut residents to make sure they picked a quality, health insurance plan that fits their needs and gives them the best value in 2021.”

As of last week about 100,000 residents had enrolled in plans on the exchange. This year due to economic uncertainty many qualify for federal subsidies. If their income is low enough they may qualify for low-cost or free insurance through the state’s Medicaid program called Husky.