Tennessee’s uninsured rate up by 10% over 2017

Tennessee uninsured rate increased by 10% over last year, according to a new study released by the University of Tennessee.

An estimated 452,000 Tennesseans are uninsured in 2018, or 6.7% of the state’s total population. That compares with the 408,000 people, or 6.1%, who were uninsured in 2017. That followed a low of 5.6% in 2016. That state’s uninsured rate hovered near the 10% mark between 2006 and 2013, before the Affordable Care Act went into effect.

Here’s the full release from UT’s Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research:

Tennessee’s overall uninsured rate is now at 6.7 percent, an increase from 6.1 percent in 2017 but still well below levels before the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2014, according to a new report released by the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research in the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business.

The increase in Tennesseans without health insurance is consistent with nationwide trends.

The Impact of TennCare: A Survey of Recipients, 2018, authored by LeAnn Luna, an economics professor in the Boyd Center, and Emily Pratt, a Boyd Center research associate, summarizes findings from a telephone survey of approximately 5,000 households conducted between May and July.

The report examines the health coverage status of Tennessee residents, collects information about the use of medical facilities, and gauges satisfaction with services received.

The survey also measures the success of the TennCare program, including the overall satisfaction of TennCare members. In 2018, some 95 percent of respondents reported satisfaction with TennCare and services rendered from TennCare providers. This marks the 10th year in a row that satisfaction levels exceeded 90 percent.

“I am pleased that TennCare continues to be recognized for providing access to high quality care for our members,” said TennCare director Wendy Long. “We collaborate with our health plans to promote the delivery of the right care in the right place at the right time, and those efforts are paying off.”

Other highlights from this year’s survey:

  • More respondents noted the inability to afford insurance as the major reason for not being insured, reversing a downward trend since 2014. An increasing number of households of all income levels reported “cannot afford” as a major reason.
  • Approximately 75 percent of TennCare members obtained a doctor’s appointment within a week, and 47 percent obtained an appointment within one day, marking record highs for both measures. Only 11 percent reported waiting more than three weeks for an appointment, a record low.
  • Ninety-two percent of all TennCare heads of household reported seeking care first at a doctor’s office or clinic instead of going to the emergency room, while 95 percent of heads of household statewide reported the same behavior.

The Boyd Center has conducted the survey since 1993 under contract with the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration.

6 Responses to Tennessee’s uninsured rate up by 10% over 2017

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    MarLE says:

    TennCare…..getting your health care, hospitalization and drugs with other people’s money including nursing home care (25K per year) And they are pleased! What a surprise!!!!

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    Todd says:

    The cost that under treated or non treated illness is way more than if they had good coverage. Not to mention all the jobs created by the healthcare industry when everyone has good access.
    Do not resent your neighbors good fortune. Figure out how to get it to everyone!!

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    Eddie White says:

    Totally agree with you Todd. Bill Lee will be the next governor, and I hope he is aggressive in finding ways to increase the number of Tennesseans who have health insurance.

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    David Collins says:

    Lee has already said he is against Medicaid expansion, even though the Feds are funding nearly all the costs, so that position does not bode well for expanding the number of Tennesseans with health care. I realize you guys are talking about medical insurance but the fact of the matter is that when hospitals have to treat folks that have no health coverage–Medicaid or private insurance–they don’t just eat that cost as a loss. They pass it along to the rest of us.

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      MarLE says:

      the hospitals do pass it on…..to those who seek their medical services. Coverage by Medicaid is passed on as well. But it is passed on to taxpayers~ more than half of Medicaid is paid by Federal tax payers and only half of tax filers actually pay the Federal Income Tax. Everyone who wants health care should be required to have health insurance. I see the parking lots of restaurants filled to the brim every weekend night. Seems to be enough money for lottery tickets and alcohol. Why is there not enough to pay insurance premiums?

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