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Health Care Insurance in Tennessee:
Only One Insurer In Half-The-State; No Insurer In Rest Of State
-- President Trump -- live television -- 9:33 a.m. Central Time
Fact check. From ObamaCare healthcare exchange in Tennessee.
2017 rates and carriers
Four carriers offer exchange plans in 2016, but UnitedHealthcare is exiting the exchange at the end of 2016. That leaves three carriers offering plans in the exchange for 2017, but Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee is no longer offering coverage in the metro areas of Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis, which are the three largest metropolitan areas in the state.
BCBST is not offering individual market plans (on or off-exchange) in 30 counties in those metro areas in 2017, although by remaining in some areas of the state, they’ve avoided a full market exit and left the door open for a possible return to state-wide coverage in 2018.
For 2017 coverage, BCBSTN will not pay broker commissions for exchange enrollments in the Tennessee counties where they will continue to offer plans, which means there will be fewer enrollment assisters available to help consumers.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee had the lion’s share of the exchange market in 2016, covering almost 69 percent of the enrollees. The carrier says that from 2014 to 2016, they expect to incur half a billion dollars in individual market losses. And although they’ve said they’ll consider re-entering the exchange statewide in 2018 or later, the market would have to stabilize first.
Because of BCBST’s exit from the three metropolitan areas, approximately 52,000 people in Nashville, 31,000 people in Knoxville, and 29,000 in Memphis must switch to a different plan for 2017 (the exchange will map them to a new plan via auto re-enrollment if they don’t pick their own).
In 2016, United and BCBST both offered plans state-wide in Tennessee. United is exiting altogether, and BCBST is leaving the metropolitan areas. As a result, residents in 73 of Tennessee’s 95 counties will only have one carrier option in the exchange.