KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Bluecross BlueShield of Tennessee is pulling out of three regions in 2017 for their individual/marketplace plans.
“Because of many challenges, we have made the difficult, but necessary decision to end coverage in three regions for 2017 – the Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville regions,” the company said in a statement. “We’re disappointed in this development, but want to help you understand how we made this decision and how it affects you.”
The company cited difficulties making the Affordable Care Act work in Tennessee. They said insurance through work, Medicare or BlueCare will no be affected.
BlueCross said they will not offer Affordable Care Act plans in the following counties:
Open enrollment begins on November 1, 2016 and ends January 31, 2017. The deadline to enroll in a new plan or make changes to coverage is effective January 1, 2017.
Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) made the following statement on the news that BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee – the state’s largest insurer – is pulling out of Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville, leaving more than 131,000 Tennesseans “scrambling” to find a new health insurance plan for next year:
“More than 131,000 Tennesseans who buy their insurance on the Obamacare exchange will lose their current insurance policy and have to scramble to find another policy. This is more evidence that Obamacare is falling apart. Short term, we need to give families the opportunity to use their Obamacare subsidies to buy a policy for 2017 outside of the exchange. Longer term, regardless of who the new president is, we need to replace Obamacare with insurance choices that allow Tennesseans to select low-cost insurance that fits their budget and their health care needs.”
Andre Ogle with Americans for Prosperity – Tennessee released the following statement:
“It’s no surprise Blue Cross has opted to leave the Obamacare marketplace in major Tennessee cities. Only one insurer will be participating in 73 out of 95 counties. This is part of the bigger picture. Obamacare is not working; it is failing Americans across the country and forcing a mandated monopoly on taxpayers,” said Ogle. “The legislature was wise to reject Obamacare expansion in our state. Whether it’s called InsureTN or the 3-Star Healthy Project, locking Tennessee into a plan that is obviously crumbling only further entrenches Obamacare. It’s time for real free-market healthcare reforms. We are calling on legislators and Tennesseans from across the state to join with us to push for healthcare solutions that do not involve Obamacare.”
Humana will now be the only carrier serving the Knoxville market. Humana and Cigna are available in the rest of the state.