Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) made the following statement on the premium increases ranging from 44 to 62 percent made final Tuesday for all three plans on Tennessee's Obamacare exchange:
"Tennesseans cannot afford 44 to 62 percent Obamacare price increases that will force them to make difficult decisions about their daily lives and their family budgets. They should not have to pay the price for a terrible health care law and the refusal by Democrats in Washington to see what is plainly obvious--that Obamacare is failing. The Tennessee insurance commissioner says that the Obamacare exchange in Tennessee is 'very near collapse.'"
He continued, "Congress should give states more flexibility to support a sustainable private health insurance market and to give individuals and their families more options to purchase lower-cost private health insurance plans outside of Obamacare. No matter which party is in the White House in January, we are going to have to take a good, hard look at Obamacare, which is bearing down on American families in a way that cannot be allowed to continue."
Background: In June of 2016, health insurance providers throughout Tennessee submitted their proposed plan rates for 2017 to the Tennessee Commissioner of Insurance. All health insurers requested a double-digit increase, with the highest being 62 percent. In an unprecedented move, the Tennessee Insurance Commission earlier this month allowed two of the three health insurance providers to increase their original insurance rate requests of 23 and 29 percent to allow the companies to continue to offer health plans in Tennessee.
The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance announced it has approved 62, 46.3%, and 44.3% increases for the three insurers on Tennessee's Obamacare exchange.
Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Says Near Collapse:
Speaking to The Tennessean, Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak said, "I would characterize the exchange market in Tennessee as very near collapse ... and that all of our efforts are really focused on making sure we have as many writers in the areas as possible, knowing that might be one. I'm doing everything I can to prevent a situation where that turns to zero."