Tennessee premium rates are stabilizing — but are costs still too high?

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Oct 22, 2018 @ 10:10

More options for Tennesseans

Open enrollment is almost here, and after years of double-digit premium increases, prices seem to be stabilizing.

Beginning Nov. 1, Tennessee consumers will be able to sign up for individual health plans via Healthcare.gov, and some consumers might actually pay less next year than they did in 2018.

For the first time since the Affordable Care Act exchanges opened in 2014, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has filed for a rate decrease, dropping premiums nearly 15 percent. Cigna also requested a rate decrease for 2019, with premiums set to fall nearly 13 percent.

However, not all consumers will see a price reduction. One carrier in Tennessee, Oscar Health, plans to increase premiums in 2019 by 7.2 percent, and consumers with other plans may receive less in subsidies and pay more in premiums.

What is driving these cost changes? To understand, let’s look briefly at how premiums are set.

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Tags: healthcare, The Tennessean, healthcare costs, individuals, karl dean, bill lee

Does the U.S. have ‘free market’ healthcare?

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Fri, Oct 12, 2018 @ 11:10

How to make healthcare more competitive

Americans have been debating healthcare for decades. As costs have continued to skyrocket for individuals, employers and the federal government, consumer frustration has also risen.

The U.S. healthcare system is often characterized by opaque pricing, varying levels of quality, and inefficiencies that make getting care confusing for patients and providers alike.

Politically, the debate usually boils down to which path would improve access to care and lower costs – a more centrally-planned healthcare system, or a more free-market approach.

The U.S. healthcare system today isn’t really a free market, but there are some pockets that operate more like one than others. Below, we’ll look at what keeps America’s healthcare system from being a true “free market,” an example of a pocket in healthcare where a free market does operate, and finally, some ideas that could make the country’s healthcare system more competitive.

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Tags: healthcare, The Tennessean, healthcare costs, individuals, karl dean, bill lee

Governor’s race: Where do the candidates stand on health care?

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Wed, Sep 26, 2018 @ 09:09

Healthcare often a key issue in political races

When it comes to political issues, health care is one that many consumers feel strongly about. Health care is a big part of almost everyone’s life, so it’s often a key issue in political races.

This will likely be true in Tennessee’s upcoming governor’s race, where Republican Bill Lee will face off against Democrat Karl Dean in November. Further, because Tennessee consistently falls in the top 10 unhealthiest states, this is an issue with particular relevance.

However, when it comes to health care, Karl Dean andBill Lee may have more in common than they have differences. Their health care platforms, as published on their websites, share some key characteristics, but also a few contrasting ideas.

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Tags: healthcare, The Tennessean, healthcare costs, individuals, karl dean, bill lee

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