Affordable Care Act

If you buy insurance on your own and have been paying attention to the Affordable Care Act, you've probably heard that open enrollment for 2018 plans has just started and the government is spending a lot less money this year to get the word out.

That's true in the 39 states that rely on HealthCare.gov. But circumstances are different in some of the 11 states plus the District of Columbia that run their own ACA websites and marketplaces.

Can a puppy video get you to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges? Florida Blue, a major insurer in that state, hopes the answer is yes.

Open enrollment for people who buy their own health insurance starts Wednesday and ends Dec. 15. That means there are only 45 days to shop for coverage. The shorter enrollment period this year is just one of the changes to the process for buying insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Here are five important factors to keep in mind if you plan to sign up for ACA coverage for 2018.

1. The health law has not been repealed.

Despite the efforts of President Trump and the Republican-led Congress, the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land.

cole.house.gov

A bipartisan health care deal was introduced in the Senate. While there's a chance it could pass there, it faces a tougher time in the House. Rachel Martin talks to Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma.

It was the Friday before a Monday deadline, and federal health officials in Washington, D.C., were working feverishly with their counterparts in Oklahoma to finalize the details of a new state reinsurance program.

President Trump signed an executive order Thursday that is intended to provide more options for people shopping for health insurance. The president invoked his power of the pen after repeated Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, have failed.

"The competition will be staggering," Trump said. "Insurance companies will be fighting to get every single person signed up. And you will be, hopefully, negotiating, negotiating, negotiating. And you will get such low prices for such great care."

Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET

Republicans are once again waving the white flag on health care.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he is pulling the Republican health care bill because it does not have the votes.

Rather than endure another embarrassing vote that sees his caucus come up short, the senators agreed in a closed-door meeting to shelve the bill.

The latest Republican push to repeal key parts of the Affordable Care Act appears to have met the fate of all previous Senate repeal efforts this year — it doesn't have the votes needed to pass the chamber.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins announced Monday that she will oppose the bill, authored by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy. Collins' decision means three Republicans have now publicly said they are against the bill — and that is one more than the GOP could afford to lose.

The proposal the Senate is considering that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would result in millions losing health insurance and a $133 billion reduction in the deficit by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office's report on the Graham-Cassidy legislation.

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana defended their namesake health care bill Monday even as the measure ran into potentially fatal opposition from a third Senate colleague.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, came out against the bill, joining fellow Republicans Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona. That leaves the GOP majority at least one vote short of the 50 votes needed to pass the bill over unified Democratic opposition.

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