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November 9 – November 23, 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.

Health insurance is a tough sell when tax credits are low
Those eligible for the lowest subsidies to buy health insurance were  the least likely to sign up for 2015 plans, studies show, another indication of the challenge of boosting enrollment for President Obama's signature health care law in 2016.

Regulators Urge Broader Health Networks
The nation’s insurance commissioners are recommending sweeping new standards to address complaints from consumers about limited access to doctors and hospitals in health plans sold under the Affordable Care Act.

Many Say High Deductibles Make Their Health Law Insurance All but Useless
Obama administration officials, urging people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, have trumpeted the low premiums available on the law’s new marketplaces.

Rate hikes widespread for popular HealthCare.gov insurance unless people switch plans
Americans who bought the least expensive versions of the most popular tier of insurance sold through HealthCare.gov will face premium increases averaging 15 percent next year unless they switch to a different health plan, according to a new analysis.

When medical care is delivered in 15-minute doses, there’s not much time for caring
I have 15 minutes. I’m generally not happy that, as an internist who works for a large medical group (most of us do now), I’m instructed to conform to this assigned length for visits with my patients.

UnitedHealth Group says it is scaling back efforts in ACA exchanges
The nation’s largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, said Thursday that it is retreating from efforts to attract customers for the coming year in insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act — and may withdraw from the marketplaces altogether in 2017.

No health insurance in 2015? Get ready to pay up
Under the Affordable Care Act, almost everyone is required to be covered under a health insurance plan, or pay a penalty. And that penalty is set to rise steeply this year.

STATES IN THE NEWS

The 20 States With the Largest and Smallest Drop in Their Uninsured Rate
The nationwide uninsured rate has fallen to 13.4 percent since the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, was implemented. But uninsured rates vary dramatically across states.

California Exchange Offers Dental Coverage To Adults For First Time
Thousands of California adults are signing up for dental insurance offered for the first time by California’s health insurance exchange, Covered California, officials said Wednesday.

New Access Health customers skew younger, lower-income, so far
More than 5,400 new customers have bought private insurance through the state’s health insurance exchange since Nov. 1, a group that includes a larger share of young adults and people who qualify for subsidized coverage than the current customer base.

What to know as Affordable Care Act coverage deadlines approach
As deadlines approach for Texans to buy, renew or switch health plans offered through the Affordable Care Act’s state marketplace, consumers need to know about changes in prices, insurance product offerings and fines for those who forgo coverage.