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Health Care and Insurance News Bulletin 

August 25 – September 5, 2014

The purpose of this bulletin is to compile a handful of articles relating to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that are most pertinent to LIUNA and its health and welfare funds. We hope you find this biweekly bulletin helpful and informative.

IRS Releases Draft Employer Health Coverage Reporting Instructions
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released draft instructions for the forms that employers will use to report health coverage they offer to their employees. The IRS is providing this early release for information purposes only.

HHS Issues Two Sets of Rules on Religious Exemption for Mandated Contraceptive Coverage; Comments Requested
Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an interim final rule for religious non-profits on a process to notify HHS of an objection to contraceptive coverage.

Full Appeals Court to Rehear Obamacare Case
A lawsuit that challenges the core Obamacare health insurance subsidies will get another appeals court hearing in December.

Will Obamacare Mean the End of Employer-Provided Insurance?
Analysts predict that as ObamaCare takes hold, it will mean the end of employer-provided insurance, with former Obama adviser Zeke Emanuel predicting that 80 percent of such plans will disappear within ten years.

The PCORI Perspective on Patient-Centered Outcomes Research
The essence of the PCORI definition of patient-centered outcomes research is the evaluation of questions and outcomes meaningful and important to patients and caregivers.

New Head of HealthCare.gov is Connecticut's Counihan
Kevin Counihan, the head of Connecticut's health insurance marketplace, will be the new CEO of healthcare.gov, the website that 36 states use to sell insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Hackers Breach Security of HealthCare.gov
Hackers breached security at the website of the government’s health insurance marketplace, HealthCare.gov, but did not steal any personal information on consumers, Obama administration officials said Thursday.

Early Results: Average 2015 Exchange Premiums Decline Slightly
In preliminary but encouraging news for consumers and taxpayers, insurance filings show that average premiums will decline slightly next year in 16 major cities for a benchmark Obamacare plan.

Health Care Spending Forecast to Increase Modestly in Next Decade
National health spending will increase modestly over the next decade, propelled in part by the gradual rebound of the U.S. economy and the growing ranks of Americans who became insured under the health law, government actuaries projected yesterday.

States in the News

Health-care Premiums Fall in Arkansas

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe’s office said Wednesday that most health-care customers will pay less for their plans next year, a relief to state residents — and to the Democratic senator trying to hold onto his seat in one of the country's most expensive elections.

D.C.'s Health Exchange is Still Hampered by Delays, Glitches 11 Months After Launch
Local health insurance brokers, who have a front-row view of the obstacles, say the District's exchange continues to suffer from technical bugs on the Web site and poor communication with insurance companies.

Maine Rolls Back Health Coverage Even As Many States Expand It
Maine was the only state in New England, and one of 23 nationally, to decline federal money to expand Medicaid under the federal law.

Subpoenas Issued in Maryland Health Care Exchange Probe
Federal auditors looking into Maryland's flawed health insurance exchange are subpoenaing documents as part of their probe and have sought information from the lead contractor hired by the state to build the site.

Health Care Spending in Massachusetts on the Rise
A new report Tuesday offered a mixed diagnosis on health care costs in Massachusetts, finding that while total spending continued to grow faster than inflation, the increase stayed well within parameters set by the state.