With a truncated enrollment period nearing its end, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange is seeing a rush of new sign-ups and alerting customers who haven’t yet done so.

The deadline to select health and dental plans through Washington Healthplanfinder that begin on the new year is 11:59 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 15. After that, Washington residents will have until Jan. 15, 2018 to secure annual coverage that would start Feb. 1.

Washingtonians seeking coverage for 2018 include 40,000 new customers who did not have coverage in the marketplace last year. The total number of new applicants represents a 47 percent increase over last year.

“It is crucial that customers who want their coverage to start on Jan. 1 take immediate action and get their application in by midnight Friday,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “There is plenty of help available to assist with the application process. Any customer needing assistance may use the increased resources available online, in person, and over the phone.”