Affordable Care Act

Friday is the last day to enroll in a health insurance plan through the federal government's insurance exchange, HealthCare.gov.

And in a little office park in Northern Virginia, Brima Bob Deen is dealing with the rush.

This post was updated Dec. 14 at 9:30 a.m. to note that Maryland extended enrollment until Dec. 22.

Gene Kern, 63, retired early from Fujifilm, where he sold professional videotape. "When the product became obsolete, so did I," he says, "and that's why I retired."

Open enrollment on the federal health law's marketplace — HealthCare.gov — ends Friday, and most people who want a plan for next year need to meet the deadline.

But some consumers who miss the cutoff could be surprised to learn they have the opportunity to enroll later.

"While a lot of people will be eligible ... I am still worried that a lot of consumers won't know it," says Shelby Gonzales, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

When Monica Spalding got the renewal letter from her health insurance company with premium details for the upcoming year, she couldn't believe her eyes. The insurer estimated that the share of the monthly premium that she and her husband would owe for their marketplace silver plan would go up from the current $28 a month to $545.

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 The health law has not been repealed.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."

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