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News in Brief- August 5, 2018

News in Brief- August 5, 2018

Aquarium exhibit to bring people together with sharks

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana aquarium is planning an exhibit aimed at increasing human interaction with sharks and stingrays.

The New Orleans Advocate reports that the visitors to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans will be able to touch both groups of animals, including feeling the sandpaper-like texture of sharks' skin.

Construction is beginning this month on the $2.9 million "touchpool." It's scheduled to open in the summer of 2019.

Audubon Nature Institute curator Kristine Grzenda says that sharks selected for the pool will have "the right temperament."

Information from: The New Orleans Advocate,


Louisiana to see some 'Obamacare' premiums decrease

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Many Louisianans with health insurance through the Affordable Care Act's individual exchange are set to see premiums drop.

The Advocate of Baton Rouge reports premiums are expected to drop by an average of 6.9 percent next year. The Louisiana Department of Insurance revealed expected rates Wednesday that show declines ranging from 4 percent to more than 15 percent.

The decline comes after years of rate hikes for the more than 100,000 Louisianans insured through the individual exchange. Louisiana's largest insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, and Vantage Health Plan are the only insurers in the state to offer health plans on that exchange.

Vantage Health Plan spokesman Billy Justice says the market is stabilizing. The drop also follows Blue Cross posting a $59 million profit in the individual exchange in 2017.

Information from: The Advocate,