Health Insurance: Changes Ahead?

Health InsuranceTennessee
Credit: KVDP [Public Domain]
For health insurance consumers, and especially for those who have long-term health issues due to accident–related injuries and conditions, the recent election has thrown some Americans into a state of uncertainty. While President-elect Donald Trump declared during the campaign that he would work to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), some points of the law may be retained. Although a recent interview did confirm that repealing and replacing Obamacare are still in the works, coverage for pre-existing conditions and children up to age 26 may not be scrapped.

The Obamacare website, addresses future uncertainty on its homepage. But it points out that whether or not changes will eventually be made, citizens must choose their plans for the coming year by December 15th.

This means that regardless of the election results, consumers will have to select coverage before the end of this year for 2017, before the presidential transition takes place.

Tennesseans have a little over a month to make a choice over the kind of insurance we must buy.

The second and more pertinent point is that everyone should review their insurance options because not all plans will remain as consumer options on the exchanges. According to the website, 2.5 million consumers nationwide will lose their current coverage and must seek a new plan. The market is narrowing as insurers pull out of the market due to losses. Remaining plans will cost more:

“As companies withdraw from the Obamacare market to recoup losses, the effect is reduced competition and mergers between companies that monopolize and limit coverage options in certain areas of the country.”

According to the Tennessee exchange website, one of the carriers exiting some Tennessee markets is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST). BSBST will no longer insure those living in Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville. Nearly 115,000 Tennesseans will have to look elsewhere for coverage. Further impacting Nashvilleans:

“Vanderbilt University Medical Center “will not be in-network for any of the plans sold in the exchange in Tennessee (Vanderbilt noted that they will be in-network for Aetna and Farm Bureau plans, which are only sold off-exchange).”

Rate increases for remaining plans available on the exchanges are as follows:
BCBST: 62 percent average rate increase
Cigna 46 percent average rate increase
Humana 44.3 percent average rate increase

Stillman and Friedland suggest that you review your options carefully, considering rates, deductibles and coverage. While changes may be coming down the road, for now you must choose wisely among the remaining options.

We would also like to point out yet again that in the event of an accident, your best value for insurance is maximum policy limits uninsured motorist car insurance. High rates of often reckless uninsured drivers in Tennessee make this a prudent option for consumers.

Stillman and Friedland wish you good health and safe driving…Because we care.

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