The Associated Press article THE TENNESSEE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY, which offers comprehensive health coverage to all Tennesseans, announced Wednesday it would no longer offer its “single payer” health insurance option, citing concerns about its impact on health care access.
The Tennessee Health Insurance Association, which represents more than 100,000 Tennessean workers and retirees, said the single payer plan would cause additional cost and complexity for Tennessea workers and would not provide them with the coverage they need to get the care they need.
“As Tennesseas workforce continues to transition to a new economy, many workers and seniors are left with few options for health coverage,” said the association’s president, Michael T. McPherson.
“We cannot afford to leave our workforce without a single payor plan.”
The association also said it would continue to work with the Tennessee Department of Health and Human Services to help Tennesseers make better health decisions.
The state has been struggling with a shortage of health care providers and patients, particularly those who are older and are not eligible for Medicaid.
About 3.2 million Tennessees are uninsured, according to the state Department of Human Services.
The agency said it has not received any applications for TennesSEE Health Insurance.
The company said it will continue to offer its premium-based “Single Payer” plan to employees of the company.
“Our current plan has proven to be successful in providing Tennesseeans access to quality care, and it is a safe and reliable option for many Tennesseus workers and their families,” said David G. Bove, chief executive officer of the Tennessee Health Insurance Association.
“The Tennessee Health Administration is committed to providing Tennesseeans with the affordable and high-quality care they expect from us.
We are confident that the Tennessehas single payors plan will be an excellent choice for all Tennessees.”
The state also announced it will begin issuing an application to employers and individuals for the TennesSave health plan.
“To help reduce the burden on Tennesseis workforce, we will begin the process of issuing an applications for a Tennessee Healthcare Worker’s Plan,” the agency said in a news release.
The Tennesse Health Insurance Company, which provides health coverage through health insurance companies in 31 states, said it expects to make the Tennessee Healthcare Workers Plan available by the end of September.
“This new single pay plan will provide Tennesse residents with affordable, quality health coverage that provides access to essential services,” the company said in its news release Wednesday.
“A Tennessee Healthcare worker’s plan provides Tennesseians access to health care options they need at a price that is fair, equitable and affordable for Tennisseeans.”
The Tennessee Healthcare Employees Insurance Company also announced Wednesday that it would begin issuing its “Tennessee Healthcare Workers” plan.
The plan provides coverage to workers who are employed by private employers in Tennessee, or who are covered by a government health plan and are also covered by TennesseCare, a state health insurance program.
The government health insurance programs have become a target of some opponents of single payers because they provide subsidies to help low-income workers pay premiums.
The U.S. Department of Labor said last year that employers with more than 50 employees are not required to offer health insurance for their workers, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in September that private employers are not allowed to provide health insurance to workers at their own expense.
TennesseeCare, which operates health insurance plans for private employers, said in August that it expects its Tennesse workers plan to be available to Tennesse citizens by the fall.
“Tennesseans are in need of affordable health insurance options and Tennessecare’s Tennesse healthcare workers plan will make it easier for Tennessis to get good quality health care at a low cost,” the TennesseeCare spokeswoman, Jessica Williams, said.
The news of the changes came two days after the governor signed a bill that included a provision that would allow Tennesse to join the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.
Under the federal Affordable Care Care Act, Tennesse is one of more than 20 states that are allowed to expand Medicaid eligibility, and there are about 3.4 million Tennespres who are eligible for state Medicaid coverage, according.
Posted by David McNew at 2:40 PM