News from San Jose Mercury News:

Good news for Californians frustrated in their attempts to sign up for health insurance by Monday’s deadline: The state’s new health exchange has extended the grace period to Friday — and may stretch it beyond that — for thousands of people unable to get coverage because the website and call centers were overwhelmed.

The grace period applies to anyone who attempted to start an application before Monday’s deadline for coverage to begin Jan. 1, although many people were not even able to get that far.

Santiago Lucero, spokesman for the state’s exchange Covered California, said insurers need time to review policy applications so coverage can start in the new year. He encouraged people to keep trying to reach a call center, even if they have no record of their attempts to get coverage before the deadline.

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