It’s official: Double-digit premium hikes are in store for Tennessee consumers buying health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchange in the state in 2018.
Julie Mix McPeak, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, approved the premiums requested by the three insurers who will sell insurance on the ACA marketplace next year: BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Cigna, and Oscar Health. BCBS-TN premiums will rise by 21 percent on average, Cigna premiums will increase by 42.1 percent on average, and Oscar Health will have premiums that average $663.62 per month. (Oscar Health is a new insurer on the state exchange, so there isn’t a comparison for 2017.) BCBS-TN will be selling plans in most areas, except for Greater Memphis and Greater Nashville; Cigna will be selling plans in Memphis, Nashville, and Tri-Cities; Oscar Health will be selling plans in Nashville.
The uncertainty surrounding the federal debate over the ACA—including numerous failed attempts to repeal and replace it, questions of whether the individual mandate will continue to be enforced, and a lack of assurance that cost-sharing reduction subsidies will continue to be paid to insurers—has been the driving factor for these premium hikes, both in Tennessee and nationwide.
Remember that open enrollment begins Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15, which is a six-week-shorter length of time than 2016.