If you live in the Knoxville area, it may be a good time to consider alternative health insurance options.
Obamacare created a lack of competition between insurance carriers. Some carriers are starting to leave the marketplace entirely due to major profit loss. It all started last year when Aetna pulled out of Pinal County, Arizona, and now Humana is leaving Tennessee.
Most of Tennessee is covered by BCBS (Blue Cross Blue Shield) or Cigna, but there are currently about 80,000 Tennessee residents that are covered by Humana, and nearly half of them are in Knoxville. Once Humana leaves at the end of 2017, there won’t be any carriers left in those 16 counties within the Greater Knoxville Area. Half will be able to enroll in Cigna or BCBS policies, but the other half won’t be able to find coverage within the ACA/Obamacare exchange. Additionally, Medicaid has not been expanded, leaving both Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries with a lot of questions.
Obamacare requires carriers to cover even the most fatally ill enrollees. Due to an unfortunate number of high-risk enrollees (those with major health concerns) in Knoxville, it is no longer financially viable for Humana to provide coverage there. As much as insurers may try to be care-focused, everybody needs to make money.
In an effort to help those who will lose coverage, Tenessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker brought in a bill to allow people to purchase policies outside of the Obamacare exchanges with subsidies.
This will prevent Knoxville residents from having to pay huge bills for private plans outside of the exchange. It may also prevent residents from trying to go without coverage.
If another carrier enters the marketplace before the end of this year, the problem could be solved. It’s hard to say what could happen next, but Trump’s plans may change things even more.