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Health Care and Insurance News Bulletin 

December 1 - December 12, 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.

Health Care Spending Grows at Lowest-Ever Rate
Health care spending in the U.S. grew last year at the lowest rate ever recorded due in part to the Affordable Care Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Wednesday.

ACA – Countdown to Compliance for Employers: Group Health Plan, Cafeteria Plan and Health FSA Nondiscrimination Theory and Practice
As applicable large employers grapple with the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) employer shared responsibility (pay-or-play) rules, two questions arise with notable frequency: Do I have to offer the same group health insurance coverage on the same terms to all my full-time employees? Do I have to offer pre-tax treatment of premiums to all my employees?

Obama Health Adviser Apologizes for “Glib” Remarks
MIT economist Jonathan Gruber — an often-quoted adviser on the president's health care law — told Congress on Tuesday he was glib and "inexcusably arrogant" when he said it was "the stupidity of the American voter" that led to the law's passage.

Obamacare Isn’t Driving Up Health Costs. Really.
The Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual survey of employer health benefits report shows that premiums for employer-sponsored plans have increased at a slower rate since the law was enacted in 2010. So what explains this seemingly widespread belief that Obamacare is driving up costs?

Can Tax Pros Prepare for Obamacare?
The Internal Revenue Service is ramping up to figure out who has health insurance and who doesn’t under Obamacare — but for now it is giving people the benefit of the doubt.

Exclusive: U.S. CEOs Threaten to Pull Tacit Obamacare Support Over “Wellness” Spat
Leading U.S. CEOs, angered by the Obama administration's challenge to certain "workplace wellness" programs, are threatening to side with anti-Obamacare forces unless the government backs off, according to people familiar with the matter.



More Than 50,000 Enroll in Health Care in Maryland
Of those enrollees, 29,543 have signed up for private insurance plans for 2015. Another 22,253 enrolled in Medicaid. The updated enrollment numbers are for Nov. 15 through Dec. 4.

New Obamacare Enrollment in California Nears 49,000
The latest figures span Nov. 15 to Dec. 3, and state officials said about 160,000 people have also applied for Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program for low-income residents.

New York Health Insurer Oscar to Pay Members Who Walk More
Oscar Health Insurance, which sells health plans on Obamacare exchanges in New York and New Jersey, said it will pay members up to $240 per year in Inc. gift cards for the thousands of steps they take each day.

Utah Advocates: Health Care Website Much Improved
Two Utah men who benefited from the federal health care law said Tuesday that while the law has been politically divisive, it has saved their lives by allowing them to get affordable insurance.