US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Alexander: Obamacare “Delivering an Unwelcome Christmas Present to Tennesseans”

Says 82,000 Tennesseans are on track to lose individual insurance because “plans have been outlawed,” many others to see increasing costs under Obamacare

Tuesday, December 24, 2013Liz Wolgemuth 202-228-4729

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“Between putting many health insurance plans on the naughty list, and increasing health insurance costs for many families, Obamacare’s mandates are delivering an unwelcome Christmas present to Tennesseans.” – Lamar Alexander

MARYVILLE, Dec. 24 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the senior Republican on the Senate health committee, today said that at least 82,000 Tennesseans are on track to lose their individual health insurance Jan. 1, one of the many ways that the “historic mistake” of Obamacare is reducing choices and driving up insurance costs over the holiday season.

“At least 82,000 Tennesseans will begin to lose their individual health insurance policies starting Jan. 1 because their plans have been outlawed under Obamacare,” Alexander said. “Between putting many health insurance plans on the naughty list, and increasing health insurance costs for many families, Obamacare’s mandates are delivering an unwelcome Christmas present to Tennesseans.”

Alexander outlined several ways that Obamacare has led to fewer choices and higher costs for Tennesseans. The Obama administration recently acknowledged this by announcing that it would allow Americans unable to replace their canceled health care plans to instead purchase “catastrophic” coverage.

Alexander said of that Dec. 19 announcement, “Republicans have suggested that to provide health coverage for more Americans, everyone should have the opportunity to buy affordable catastrophic insurance as part of a private-sector plan to create more competition, offer more choices, and lower costs. This is a completely different approach and would have been a better path than Obamacare. It was suggested by Republicans – and ridiculed by the president – at the 2010 White House health care summit.”

The 82,000 Tennesseans who will begin to lose their individual health insurance plans starting Jan. 1 – despite the president’s promise that “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it” – include:

  • 66,000 Tennesseans who will lose their BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee coverage because many plans do not meet Obamacare mandates.
  • 16,000 Tennesseans who are losing their plans through CoverTN, a state-run health insurance program with plans that have been outlawed under Obamacare.

Many Tennesseans are also experiencing “rate shock,” as their plans become more expensive or they are forced to find new individual health insurance policies in the private market or on Obamacare exchanges, Alexander said. For example:

  • In 2013 in Nashville, a 27-year old woman can choose from 30 insurance plans that cost less than the administration says insurance plans on the exchanges will cost, even with the new tax subsidy.
  • Also in 2013 in Nashville, a 27-year-old woman can buy a plan for as low as $58 a month.  On the exchange, the lowest-priced plan in Nashville is $114 a month—a 97 percent increase.  Even with a tax subsidy if she made $25,000 a year, that plan would cost her $104 a month.
  • In 2013 in Memphis, a 27-year-old man in Memphis can buy a private insurance plan for as low as $41 a month.  On the exchange, the lowest state average is $119 a month—a 190 percent increase. Even with a tax subsidy if he made $25,000 a year, that plan would cost him $109 a month.

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