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Shares of top ACA insurers slump after federal judge strikes down health law

Several public managed care companies that offer plans on health exchanges saw their stocks sink through late morning on Dec. 17 following a federal judge's ruling that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

A federal district judge in Texas late on Dec. 14 ruled the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, arguing that Congress' repealing the individual mandate provision nullified the entire law. The law remains in effect, however, as the case winds through the legal process.

Shares of Molina Healthcare Inc. took the biggest hit of the top three publicly traded insurers in the first two hours after the opening bell. Molina's stock was down more than 13% as of 11:30 a.m. ET.

Centene Corp., which offers plans in more states than any other insurer, were down nearly 6% as of the same time. Chairman and CEO Michael Neidorff wrote in a statement that the company believes the courts will eventually uphold the ACA.

Anthem Inc., which pared down its participation on ACA's exchanges in 2017, saw a more modest decline of about 2% through late morning.