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December 24, 2015 – January 8, 2016

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.

More than 11.3 million Americans signed up for Obamacare, HHS says
More than 11.3 million people have signed up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to data released Thursday that provides the first national snapshot of enrollment for 2016.

Obamacare Insurers Sweeten Plans With Free Doctor Visits
Health insurers in several big cities will take some pain out of doctor visits this year — the financial kind. They’ll offer free visits to primary care doctors in their networks. You read that right. Doctor visits without copays. Or coinsurance. And no expensive deductible to pay off first. Free.

Do You Speak Health Insurance? It’s Not Easy.
Solicit opinions about health insurance and you’re almost guaranteed to find consensus: It’s mystifying and irritating.

Study: ObamaCare not shifting workers to part-time jobs
ObamaCare has not caused employers to shift workers into part-time work, according to a new study. The study, released Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs, examines the claim made by critics of the law that employers will make more people work part-time in order to avoid having to give them health insurance.

More Employers Offer Plans That Provide Lump Sums For Critical Illnesses
Insurance policies that pay a lump sum if workers get cancer or another serious illness are being offered in growing numbers by employers. Companies say they want to help protect their workers against the financial pain of increasingly high deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. But it’s important to understand the limitations of these plans before buying.

First-of-a-kind drug approvals continued rise in 2015
Approvals for first-of-a-kind drugs climbed last year, pushing the annual tally of new U.S. drugs to its highest level in 19 years. The rising figures reflect an industry-wide focus on drugs for rare and hard-to-treat diseases, which often come with streamlined reviews, extra patent protections and higher price tags.

Why a Mild Winter Is a Win for Health Insurers
A warm winter is helping create the slowest start to the U.S. flu season in five years, during what is typically a dangerous time of year for the elderly and a costly one for health insurers.