Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that nearly 18,000 new customers have used its Healthplanfinder to select 2018 health coverage through these first four weeks of open enrollment. This number of new customers who have signed up since Nov. 1 represents a 43 percent increase over the same period last year.

With about 4,500 new sign-ups each week, Washington Healthplanfinder has experienced an 18 percent increase in visits to the website, with more than 423,000 visitors reviewing their coverage options.

“It’s great to see so many people taking the early initiative to find 2018 health insurance coverage,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

Dec. 15 is the deadline to sign up for coverage that begins Jan. 1. To better accommodate any increased traffic leading up to that deadline, the website will now be available until midnight on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends through Dec. 15.

The toll-free Customer Support Center (1-855-923-4633) will also be available weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Since going live in 2013, more than 1.8 million residents have connected with coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder to help lower Washington state’s non-insured rate to an all-time low of six percent.