WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — The Obama administration has extended the deadline for enrollment in the Affordable Care Act.

The administration said on Tuesday night that those who started to supply for insurance, but are not able to finish before the March 31 deadline because of technical problems, will get more time.

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But it was unclear how long the extension would last.

“We are experiencing a surge in demand and are making sure that we will be ready to help consumers who may be in line by the deadline to complete enrollment, either online or over the phone,” Health and Human Services spokesman Aaron Albright said.

Some have urged the administration to allow until April 15, the tax filing deadline. People who are due refunds may be willing to put some of that money toward health care premiums.

The administration’s decision affects the 36 states where the federal government is taking the lead on sign-ups. The 14 states running their own websites are likely to follow, since some had been pressing for an extension on account of their own technical problems.

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The White House said there has been a surge in demand on the health care website. The administration is trying to meet a goal of 6 million sign-ups.

On Monday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was on the campus on Montclair State University in New Jersey to urge those who are uninsured to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act before March 31.

Those who fail to sign up for health insurance by next Monday, and do not qualify for more time, will not be able to enroll until next year and will have to pay a penalty on their taxes.

A recent AP poll said only one fourth of the uninsured had tried to sign up through the state and federal marketplaces.

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