Even as it extended the deadline to midnight Dec. 24 for those seeking health coverage starting on Jan. 1, 2014, HealthCare.gov  officials posted a message on the site that anyone who started enrollment by the deadline but couldn't finish due to heavy traffic or site issues would still have more time.

A message late Tuesday on HealthCare.gov announced: “We don’t want you to miss out if you’ve been trying to enroll.”  People who ran into “delays caused by heavy traffic to HealthCare.gov, maintenance periods, or other issues with our systems” will have more time. “We may be able to help you get covered as soon as January 1.”

Federal officials have developed “a robust casework process to address individual inquiries, respond to specific situations, and help consumers transition to new coverage,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Communications (CMS) Director Julie Bataille wrote in an agency update.

A message on the site today encourages those who "weren't able to enroll in an insurance plan by December 23 because of problems you had using HealthCare.gov" to call the Marketplace Call Center. "Our representatives will ask for information about your situation and explain your options. These may include starting a new application over the phone to get coverage effective on January 1," the message concludes.

The original deadline to sign up for policies starting on Jan. 1 was Dec. 15, but as site issues overwhelmed operations, that was pushed back to Dec. 23. On Dec. 23, it was extended by one day. On Dec. 24, it was announced that enrollees might still have more time.