April 4 (Bloomberg) — Health Net Inc. and insurers in at least 14 states will let consumers who missed open enrollment sign up for health plans in April, a private online marketplace said, in a move that may help attract younger customers.

In some cases, consumers don't need to have started an application before the enrollment deadline of March 31, eHealth Inc. said in a statement today. The online marketplace offers individual health plans outside of the federal and state-run exchanges created by Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

About 7.1 million people signed up on the federal and state exchanges, the Obama administration said April 1. Insurers generally don't extend enrollment periods because they don't want consumers to wait until they get sick to sign up. In this case, extending deadlines for a month may allow companies to gain more young and healthy customers.

"We want to make it easy for consumers to purchase insurance, whether it's on or off the exchange," Health Net spokesman Brad Kieffer said by telephone. "So we're just making our off-exchange deadlines consistent with what's taking place on the exchange."

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