Federal insurance marketplace carriers now competing in 81 of 95 Tennessee counties

Six insurance carriers are now competing for business through the Affordable Care Act’s federal marketplace in 81 of 95 Tennessee counties.

Among the five companies that have previously operated in the state, three (BlueCross, Bright Health, and Oscar Health) have proposed rate increases for upcoming fiscal year, while two (Celtic/Ambetter Insurance and Cigna) are planning decreases. UnitedHelathcare is a new entrant.

“Increased competition and lower prices perfectly align with Governor Lee’s vision to help support Tennessee consumers.”,” Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Hogden Mainda said in a statement.

The full release follows.

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) announces the approval of proposed insurance rates requested by six health insurance carriers offering coverage on the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) in 2021.

“Heading into 2021, Tennessee’s hard-working and resilient families in 81 of the state’s 95 counties will have more than one choice of health insurance carriers on the Federally Facilitated Marketplace,” said TDCI Commissioner Hodgen Mainda. “Additionally, the Department has approved premium rate decreases from market participants for just the third time in the ACA marketplace era. Increased competition and lower prices perfectly align with Governor Lee’s vision to help support Tennessee consumers.”

Though decreases bring down premium prices in rating areas with more competition, an individual’s maximum out-of-pocket premium costs depend on several factors, including the amount of federal funding for premium assistance (subsidies) available in the state. Consumers should contact licensed insurance agents or company representatives in considering 2021 plan coverage.

“We urge consumers to carefully review plans when shopping on the exchange during Open Enrollment. While it may be tempting to enroll in a plan with the lowest premium, consumers should also take into account other potential costs such as co-pays and deductibles,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner Rachel Jrade-Rice. “Ask questions and contact the carriers about their plans. Additionally, consumers should conduct research on premiums, deductibles, co-pays and cost-sharing along with reviewing each insurance carrier’s networks for their most accessible and/or preferred providers and hospitals. To avoid unexpected or ‘balance’ bills, always visit in-network providers.” The carriers and rates sought on the FFM for 2021 are as follows:

Individual Market

  • BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. Statewide coverage. Proposed 2021 rate request seeking an average increase of 9.8%.
  • Bright Health. Continuing coverage in Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville areas. Proposed 2021 rate request seeking an average increase of 3.01%.
  • Celtic/Ambetter Insurance. Proposed coverage expansion into Jackson and Tri-Cities areas with continuing coverage in Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis areas as well as cities in West Middle Tennessee such as Columbia, Dickson and Lawrenceburg in Rating Area 8. Proposed 2021 rate request seeks an average decrease of 2.5%.
  • Cigna. Continuing coverage in Chattanooga, Jackson, Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis and Tri-Cities. Proposed 2021 rate request seeking a premium decrease of 6.1%.
  • Oscar Health. Continuing coverage in Nashville and Memphis. Proposed 2020 request seeking an average increase of 9.9%.
  • UnitedHealthcare. New entrant with proposed coverage in the Chattanooga, Jackson, Memphis and Nashville areas as well as cities in West Middle Tennessee such as Columbia, Dickson and Lawrenceburg in Rating Area 8.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) must now review Tennessee’s approvals.Companies have until September 23, 2020 to sign final agreements with CMS to participate in the 2021 marketplace. Open Enrollment for 2021 begins November 1, 2020 and lasts through December 15, 2020.

22 Responses to Federal insurance marketplace carriers now competing in 81 of 95 Tennessee counties

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    Norma says:

    I don’t see how this is an improvement for “hardworking, resilient” families. The state is divided into fiefs with minimal competition among carriers and the rates are going up. The rates are already excessive and unaffordable even with one of the vanishing subsidies that helps cover part of the premium. This is yet another hoax masquerading as the “free market” from the Republican Party that runs this state and hates healthcare reform because its also called Obamacare. Of course if we had Trumpcare there wouldn’t be anything to help hardworking, resilient families – all the breaks would go to the top 1%.

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    Christina says:

    My daughter in Nashville has OSCAR Insurance. Her only complaint is sometimes it’s hard to find providers who accept OSCAR. OSCAR needs to expand its provider list.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      OSCAR needs to pay providers more for their services after which I am sure more providers will accept patients who have this insurance but if it did then no doubt your daughter would have to pay a higher premium for her insurance. There is no free lunch I’m afraid.

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    Beatrice Shaw says:

    Cannot agree more!! We are ENTITLED to a healthy life and should receive free care whenever we need it.
    As I have often stated, corporations can be taxed to pay for all Tennesean’s insurance and leave us even more money to spend on THEM. That is how it should work with reasonable people.

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      James White says:

      Corporations don’t pay taxes, they pass them on to consumers. The US congress needs to stop all the insurance and prescription regulations and allow the free market to work .
      And there is No such thing as ‘free’ healthcare nor a Right to healthcare.

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        For the nearly 50% of American Tax Filers who pay ZERO in Federal Income Tax…….the corporate tax passed onto them is one of the Very Few ways they actually help the rest of us pay the bills for the military, MediCAID, food stamps, the Fed courts that protect patent rights and prosecute Fed criminals and a million other Federal projects, lands, and systems.

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        Eddie White says:

        There is no right to health care. Neither is there a right to paved roads or sewer systems. But I am glad the government has taken the responsibility to provide both. Health care is very expensive and navigating the best course to provide health care in a cost efficient way is complex. But the government does have a role to play to increase and encourage free market solutions. Requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions is a good start. Providing a cost effective market place is also a good idea.

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          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          I would place a heavy emphasis on increasing the free market for medical care. Roads and sewers are natural monopolies whereas the providing of health care is not.

          The only problem with covering pre existing conditions is it encourages the healthy not to obtain health insurance until a chronic ailment is diagnosed thus contributing to making the insurance pool of insureds sicker and insurance more expensive for everyone. I prefer a system whereby those who don’t purchase insurance when they are young and healthy are subject to significantly higher premiums if they wait to purchase insurance until they are old and/or sick. I see a role for the state to pay for care only when a patient absolutely can’t afford to pay for his care and maintain a reasonable standard of living. Otherwise the state should pay the cost of the uninsured in the form of a loan not dischargeable in bankruptcy like a student loan with interest and fees added thereto.

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            Eddie White says:

            Not covering pre-existing basically removes the free market. Insurance companies do not want to cover folks with serious pre-existing. That leaves the government to provide the coverage. Asking the very sick to repay in the form of a loan is a little extreme and won’t fly. By the way providing health insurance is a government monopoly in many countries. Hopefully we can keep the free market in place for health care. That remains to be seen.

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            MARLE says:

            Absolutely……..you should be able to dial up the insurance agent to get coverage while you have the fire department on the other line. Pre-existing home owners insurance for casualty and bodily harm as the four-alarm goes off.

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          MARLE says:

          When has there EVER been a problem with pre-existing condition coverage with a new carrier As Long As you had continuous prior coverage. See Above

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            Eddie White says:

            You can get out of your house if it is on fire, you make transportation arrangements if you have a car wreck. What do you do with cancer? Covering pre-existing illness is a real issue for those who were not able to keep continuous coverage. If the issues were just as simple as you naively describe. And if the private sector will not provide coverage for serious illness, then the government should.

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            MARLE says:

            Insurance is not for YOU getting out of the house, Eddie. It is for the dwelling itself and all of the STUFF inside. Do you carry your house away from the fire??????? Do you get all your stuff out?????? No. You don’t. So this isn’t about the personal liability for the homeowner (who by the way is NOT covered for his own personal injury in the fire) it is for the stuff which can’t get away from the fire damage.
            You really don’t understand too much, do you? Taxpayers should demand their educ money back in your case

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      I can’t help but think that Beatrice taught economics in some government school. I think she might have something though. Isn’t food and shelter essential to a “healthy life”? You bet it is!!! Therefore under Shawnomics shouldn’t we tax corporations in order to make that “free” too. How about transportation. . . .? Why there’s no end to the “free” stuff we can have if only we were smart enough to adopt Shawnomics.

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        MARLE says:

        Everybody who pays the Fed Income tax passes it on to someone else. An employee, esp the higher marginal rate ones, calculate the amount they will “lose” to the Fed Income tax and adjust the salary at which they are willing to sell their services to their employer. It is not only Corporations who pass on the income taxes they pay.

        So All of Us, like corporations should be exempt from Fed Income taxes b/c we pass them on. And since debt and deficits are no longer a problem thanks to the Fed and the White House money tree I suppose that “monetary innovation” will be coming along eventually to the benefit of all of us.

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    Eddie White says:

    Interesting. Only a few years ago the number of insurance companies was decreasing and some areas of the state had no companies participating. Now there appears to be more insurance companies in the market and most counties have coverage. That seems like good news. Why the improvements? I buy my own health insurance through Farm Bureau. The removal of the insurance mandate by the President and the senate has allowed me to buy reasonably good insurance at a competitive rate without having to pay a fine to the federal government.

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    steve cates says:

    And yet republicans in the TN House and Senate and the governorship continue to refuse to accept Medicaid expansion, which would provide insurance for about 300,000 of our fellow Tennesseans who now have none. This is the eighth year for this negligence and we remain one of about a dozen states who refuse to accept this. It’s a criminal act, in my opinion, and far from those “family values” and “christian values” most of these republicans claim they hold dear!!

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Tennessee already covers the poor under Medicaid and the expansion of the program would make those eligible for the program who were under 138% of the Federal poverty line. On top of our current Medicaid costs, after the first three years this would add yet another 10% of the cost of the expansion to the Tennessee budget when the expense of Medicaid is already rising much faster than inflation. The current issue of Barrons has a list of states in order of creditworthiness and we can be proud that Tennessee is #7 on that list. That high rating is partly ascribable to the wise political leaders in this state resisting the blandishments of “free” federal money in exchange for adopting budget busting programs.

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    Yes Stewart, when you don’t spend money on your citizens that are sick, you can get a good credit rating from Barron’s, but is that really the answer any sick person wants to hear or something that you really want to brag about? Most other advanced countries in the world have found a way to include ALL their citizens in some sort of a “basic” medical care plan. We are one of the richest countries in the world yet we let our poor people suffer and yes, die for lack of money. I believe that most adults would agree, we can do a lot better than we are currently doing. It does take a little compassion, something the (R) seem to be lacking these days. It is called sharing, not “budget busting programs.”

    • Avatar
      MARLE says:

      How is it compassionate to take money earned by one person to give it to another person who Could have earned it himself but squandered the many opportunities this country offered him from cradle to adulthood? We spend 10K per child/per yr for 14 straight years of education. THAT is compassion. His failure to capitalize on that to the point he can afford health insurance is Mostly on him

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    Eddie White says:

    Of course until this well educated young man , who has been diagnosed with cancer, loses his job because of downsizing, and with the loss of job goes his insurance. Compassion does not end with a diploma. Society has a responsibility to make sure that those who have critical diseases have an opportunity for treatment. The Republicans have punted on this issue too many times. It’s time to begin looking at solutions ( and not just spouting some Darwin theory).

    • Avatar
      MARLE says:

      Every state has a pool for folks who have had credible coverage but lose their job. But pre-existing also covers the alcoholic and drug abuser who can’t hold a job, for the dufus who found school to be “too B0RING” so is now functionally illiterate (know a few who fit that description) and many others who squandered their ability to get and hold a good job. How many people can seem to find the money for cable, rec drugs, date night out but claim they can’t afford insurance.

      Sob Sisters want ALL of them to be covered with other people’s money. Guess that describes you too Eddie.

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