Affordable Care Act

President Trump called a Friday ruling striking down the Affordable Care Act "Great news for America!" Democratic lawmakers rushed to decry the decision, calling it "monstrous" and "harmful." And Republican lawmakers remained mostly quiet Saturday.

Like millions of Americans in this final week of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, Diane McCabe is shopping for health insurance.

"At my age, I can't go without it, even though I'm healthy now," says McCabe. She's 62 and a self-employed real estate agent in Luzerne County, Pa. "But the process is frustrating, and the expense significant."

Editor's note: This story was updated with enrollment figures made available on Dec. 19.

About 8.5 million people enrolled in health plans for 2019 through the federal HealthCare.gov website by the Dec. 15 deadline.

That's about 367,000 fewer people than signed up during the 6 week open enrollment season last year, a decline of about 4 percent, according to new numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

After a decade of improvement, a new study suggests the rate of uninsured children is increasing in Oklahoma.

Research from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Family Studies shows the state’s rate of uninsured children increased to 8.1 percent in 2017 from 7.7 percent in 2016, an amount that dropped Oklahoma to 48th in the nation.

Overall, researchers found that the number of uninsured children nationwide ticked up from 4.7 percent – a historic low – to 5 percent during the same period.

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET

In recent years, some cities, including Memphis and Phoenix, withered into health insurance wastelands, as insurers fled and premiums skyrocketed in the insurance marketplaces that were set up under the Affordable Care Act.

But today, as in many parts of the U.S., these two cities are experiencing something unprecedented: Insurance premiums are sinking and choices are sprouting.

It's time for consumers who buy their own health insurance to start shopping for policies for next year. Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act coverage starts Thursday across most of the country.

But the shopping and buying experience will vary widely, depending on where people live.

In California, for example, where political leaders have always been supportive of the Affordable Care Act, legislators have allocated $100 million for outreach.

Wednesday is looking like yet another pivotal day in the life-or-death saga that has marked the history of the Affordable Care Act.

Consumers who buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act markets may be pleasantly surprised this fall as average premiums are forecast to rise much less than in recent years.

The price of a 2019 policy sold on the ACA exchanges will increase less than 4 percent, according to an analysis of preliminary filings from insurers in all 50 states by ACASignups.net, a website and blog run by analyst Charles Gaba that tracks ACA enrollment and insurer participation.

And those insurers are expanding their offerings.

For people who make too much money to qualify for health insurance subsidies on the individual market, there may be no Goldilocks moment when shopping for a plan. No choice is just right.

A policy with an affordable premium may come with a deductible that's too high. If the copayments for physician visits are reasonable, the plan may not include their preferred doctors.

These consumers need better options, and in early August federal officials offered a strategy to help bring down costs for them.

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