Consumer interest up ahead of Feb. 15 health law deadline; so are premiums

Government And Institutions Associated Press

Ahead of Sunday's deadline, officials say consumers are stepping up to enroll for 2015 coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law.

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Sign-up centers haven't seen the same long lines as last year, but volunteers from Austin, Texas, to Columbus, Ohio, report a surge of interest this week.

An update from the Obama administration on Wednesday showed enrollment started picking up last week.

All told, 7.7 million people had signed up for subsidized private insurance in the 37 states served by the federal HealthCare.gov site as of February 6. That's not counting states that run their own insurance markets.

But not everything was rosy — administration numbers show monthly premiums rose an average of 8 percent in the federal market states. After subsidies, that's a $23-a-month increase from last year.