As congressional Republicans and the Trump administration keep chipping away at the Affordable Care Act, a number of states are enacting laws that aim to safeguard its central provisions.

The GOP tax plan approved by Congress in the last days of 2017 repealed the ACA penalty for people who fail to carry health insurance, a provision called the individual mandate.

But before that federal change happens next year, some states are working to preserve the effects of the mandate by creating their own versions of it.

Health plans that don't meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act; work requirements for Medicaid coverage; changes to Medicare's approved drug lists: As the ground continues to shift on health care coverage, I'm answering readers' queries this week about these three different types of plans:

After much drama leading to this year’s open enrollment for Affordable Care Act coverage — a shorter time frame, a sharply reduced federal budget for marketing and assistance, and confusion resulting from months of repeal-and-replace debate — the final tally paints a mixed picture.

Republicans on the campaign trail this year will be eager to tout the potential benefits of their tax cut plan.

If you need health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, you still have three more days to enroll.

Although the national deadline for open enrollment on was Dec. 15, Floridians were given an extended deadline of Dec. 31 because of damages caused by Hurricane Irma. 

A day after President Trump said the Affordable Care Act "has been repealed," officials reported that 8.8 million Americans have signed up for coverage on the federal insurance exchange for 2018 — nearly reaching the 2017 number in half the sign-up time.

That total is far from complete. Enrollment is still open in parts of seven states, including Florida and Texas, that use the federal exchange but were affected by hurricanes earlier this year.

Open enrollment on the federal health law's marketplace — — 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.

Health insurance a la carte?

Tom Hudson

This year is six weeks shorter than last year.

Not on the calendar, or course, but there are six fewer weeks this year for people getting their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act -- otherwise known as Obamacare or ACA-- to sign up for 2018.

This year’s open enrollment period to sign-up for the coverage is six weeks long and it’s already underway. It ends December 15th. Last year, participants had three months to buy the health insurance or face a fine.


Today on Sundial: Open enrollment season to sign-up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is  underway. The deadline, however, is coming up fast. The closing date is Dec. 15.

This year, Congress  botched many attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare. But it implemented a shorter enrollment period and  allocated almost no federal funds for advertising. Surprisingly, enrollment nationwide is almost 50 percent higher now than at this point last year.

Obamacare enrollment is off to a strong start in Florida and around the nation, according to national data and those who help people sign up for health insurance.

Getting rid of the requirement that everyone in the country have health insurance coverage would save the government $338 billion over the next decade, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis released Wednesday.

Former President Barack Obama took to Twitter Wednesday morning to encourage people to shop for Affordable Care Act health insurance.

Obama's rare appeal comes as his signature health care law is under attack by his successor, President Trump, and Republicans in Congress.

The 2018 annual open-enrollment period for coverage on the health insurance marketplaces starts Wednesday. But if you don't take care of lingering issues from your past coverage, they may come back to haunt you.

Unpaid premiums

A new rule will allow some insurers to require you to pay any back premiums you owe for the 12 months prior to the effective date of your new coverage.

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.