With just weeks to go before the deadline expires for most Americans to sign up for coverage through President Obama's health care law, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Monday that more than 5 million have signed up -- representing an accelerated pace for the month of March.

Last Tuesday, HHS reported that 4.2 million people had signed up for a plan through the health care exchanges as of March 1, meaning that roughly 800,000 have chosen a plan so far in March.

In January, it took until the 24th of the month for HHS to announce that 800,000 had signed up — and on the 25th of February, HHS said just 700,000 people had signed up to that point in the month.

As expected, the pace of signups has increased in March, with the deadline to gain coverage without being penalized looming and the White House doing an all-out media blitz to convince Americans to select plans.

In September, HHS projected that about 1.4 million people would sign up for coverage in March. Though that now seems plausible, it's still unlikely that the program will meet its initial goal of enrolling 7 million over the six-month period that started Oct. 1.

The signup figures provided by HHS represent individuals who have selected a plan, regardless of whether or not they have paid, which is typically how enrollment is defined.