Alexander: Trump Administration Helps Secure Even Lower 2019 Tennessee Health Insurance Rates

Posted on August 9, 2018

WASHINGTON, August 9, 2018 — Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) made the following statement on the announcement that insurance companies in Tennessee requested even lower health insurance premiums on average for the 2019 plan year after the Trump administration worked to fix the risk adjustment program:

“This welcome development is the result of the Trump Administration fixing errors in an Obama administration rule on risk adjustment payments between insurers. Even though for the first time since Obamacare took effect Tennessee is experiencing a rate decrease, the news for next year could have been even better had Democrats accepted the bipartisan proposal in March to lower premiums by up to 40% next year.  I will continue to encourage the administration to do everything they can to keep health care costs down as much as possible in the coming years.”

Background: 

Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Julie McPeak re-opened rate filings for the individual health insurance market for 2019 after the Trump administration announced a solution to fix errors in the Obama administration’s risk adjustment rule. This led to a reduction in rates for all three returning carriers in the state: BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the state’s largest carrier, changed its rate filing from a 10.9% decrease to a 15% decrease. Cigna revised its rate reduction from a 4.8% decrease to a 12.9% decrease, and Oscar revised its rate increase from a 10.8% increase down to a 7.25% increase.

As of July 11, 2018, health insurance providers in Tennessee have submitted their proposed rates for 2019 to the Tennessee Commissioner of Insurance. Two of the three returning carriers from last year requested rate decreases. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee requested a 10.9% rate decrease, Cigna requested a 4.8% decrease, and Oscar requested a 10.8% increase. Bright Health and Celtic announced that they will begin selling health insurance in Tennessee.

Prior to this announcement, rates in Tennessee had risen over 176 percent since the Obamacare exchanges opened in 2014. Last year, every Democrat voted against repealing and replacing Obamacare which would have given Americans more choices of insurance at lower cost. This year, Democrats blocked a proposal that President Trump and Republicans offered to enact that experts at Oliver Wyman health consulting firm said would lower premiums by up to 40 percent over three years

Number of carriers in Tennessee’s individual health insurance market by year:

2012—23

2013—18

2014—8

2015—9

2016—11

2017—6

2018—3

2019—5

 

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