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Health Care and Insurance News Bulletin 

January 19 – 30, 2015

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.

Employer Offering Coverage: The Multiemployer Plan Problem
As we move in to the first phase of ACA compliance, a number of employers have been asking about unionized employees and how they can know whether the employees are “offered” coverage (as required to avoid penalties) when coverage is provided through a multiemployer plan to which the employer contributes.

Obama Administration on Track to Surpass Health Care Goal
Some 9.5 million people have already signed up for 2015 coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law, and the administration is on track to surpass its nationwide enrollment target set last year.

U.S. Healthcare Executives Say Obamacare is Not Going Anywhere
U.S. healthcare executives say Obamacare is likely here to stay, despite repeated calls from Republican lawmakers for repeal of the 2010 law aimed at providing health coverage for millions of uninsured Americans.

Proposed Insurance Enrollment Period Worries Some
Affordable Care Act's annual enrollment period could both help and hurt consumers, according to state insurance regulators and industry officials.

CBO Now Says 10 Mil Will Lose Employer Health Plans Under Obamacare
The Congressional Budget Office now says Obamacare will push 10 million off employer-based coverage, a tenfold increase from its initial projection. The "keep your plan" lie just gets bigger and bigger.

Do I Have to Repay Premium Tax Credits if the Marketplace Miscalculated Them?
Experts with the Kaiser Family Foundation answer questions from readers who are running into difficulties with premiums and tax credits on their marketplace plans.

Surgery Costs Vary Wildly – Even in Same Area
The cost of having a knee or hip replaced varies wildly and can be up to four times more in one place than another — even in the same area, a report out January 21st found.

STATES IN THE NEWS

Alaska Health Plan Premiums, Highest in Nation, Are Triple Those in Phoenix
In health insurance prices, as in the weather, Alaska and the Sun Belt are extremes. This year Alaska is the most expensive health insurance market for people who do not get coverage through their employers, while Phoenix, AZ, Albuquerque, NM, and Tucson, AZ, are among the very cheapest.

Covered California Renewal Rate Tops 90%
California officials say more than 90% of Obamacare customers renewed their policy for 2015, but the state still faces an uphill climb to reach its goal of 1.7 million enrolled before next month's sign-up deadline.

In Colorado, Disparity in Health Plan Prices Underscores Ambitions, and Limits, of Affordable Care Act
At first glance, Colorado would seem to be one of the federal health law’s clearest success stories, offering nearly 200 plans and average premiums nearly unchanged in the coming year.