Sep 26 2016
10:34 am

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will not sell insurance plans on the Obamacare exchange in the state's three largest metro areas next year, as the health care giant grapples with hefty losses and ongoing uncertainty on the marketplace.


This, of course, after they were granted a 62% rate hike by the state insurance commission.


R. Neal's picture

WT actual F?

WT actual F?

bizgrrl's picture



Andy Axel's picture

"Feature, not bug."

BCBS still plans on servicing 5 of the 8 regions, which I'm assuming is contingent upon federal approval of their rate hike. If I were a competent insurance commissioner (which Julie McPeak almost certainly is not), I would certainly be hauling some asses back to Nashville to answer some hard questions. This, naturally, will not happen.

(eyeballing the "lost funding" counter)

R. Neal's picture

The article says the will no

The article says they will no longer sell indivdual plans in those markets at all, on or off the exchange.

The insurance companies are sabatoging the bill they wrote.

Andy Axel's picture


Write off 60% of the state's population, then make the remaining 40% bear the losses (many of those places where you have to drive a couple of hours to get to a hospital). Watch Ron Ramsey do a victory lap.

PM Parris's picture

Very unfortunate, but also not unexpected

The TN Legislature and Governor will continue to ropeadope on having a plan until something (who knows what) forces their hand at the state level. A tipping point of rural hospital closings or cost to the state from uninsured persons? Something else? The giant loophole that was left when states were permitted to opt out of Obamacare has been a significant Achilles heel to the approach. When I hear folks says Obamacare doesn't work, the response is "it hasn't actually been implemented as planned, so how would we know". At the federal level, it will clearly fall to the next President to move the ball forward. If that's Clinton, she will face many of the same obstacles that Obama did, coupled with her history with an earlier round of federal health expansion attempts. If it's Trump, who knows, other than it could clearly get a lot worse. The old saying that "things that can't go on forever don't" applies here, it's just not clear how close to forever we are going to have to get before the cost/coverage situation is non operative such that it produces a post-Obamacare model.

bizgrrl's picture

I thought insurance companies

I thought insurance companies were required to offer individual policies. Apparently not, or not in all areas.

R. Neal's picture

Average ACA subsidy in

Average ACA subsidy in Tennessee is $400/mo. BCBS is taking another $628 million annually of federal funding out of our health care system. And it would likely have been more with their approved rate increases.

Kosh III's picture

Frak em! It's way past time

Frak em! It's way past time for single-payer.
Abolish Medicaid, VA Healthcare and any other government program. All citizens to be enrolled in an expanded Medicare; no opt out.

bizgrrl's picture

If only.

If only.

SICK of IT all's picture

BCBS doesnt affect GOV employees GO figure

When BCBS started dropping physicians who accepted PLAN S it didnt affect any government employee's who had plan S.Anyone in Tennessee who had certain "low income" or government paid insurance plans like plan S could no longer see certain physicians and MANY physicians at UT Knox were dropped from those plans..BUT..and a BIG BUTT..if you were/are a Governmemt employee you could/can still see those physicians...go figure.
So NOW they(BCBS) has been approved for a 62% premium rate INCREASE...and go figure..BCBS IS THE GOVERNMENTS Health Insurer!!! THATS WHY THEY APPROVED the increase..becasue THEY arent paying for it..WE ARE with our TAX dollars.
If we DONT HAVE insurance we pay penalty taxes to the Govermentt.
SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE FIXED HERE.THIS IS JUST WRONG. Add to THIS problem for many is those of us who are chronic illness and require chronic pain medicine daily..cancer patients etc..THOSE laws were changed 2 years ago whereas now we HAVE to jump thru hoops and be treated like criminals to even FIND a doctor who will treat us and see that doctor EVERY month and take a paper RX to a pharmacy.nothing can be called or faxed in that is a certain schedule drug.We have to submit to drug testing which is a GOOD thing..BUT..INSURANCE WONT PAY for those tests and there is no CAP on what clinics can charge for them Ive seen those run upwards of $700.00 PR test.You have senior citizens on fixed incomes HAVING to go every month now which is costing more in travel/gas and doctor visits and then add the cost of drug tests to that.Required even when the weather is very bad they must drive to the physician and then to the pharmacy,and sometimes because of the weather one or both might close due to bad roads.These laws need to be amended in some way.SICK people cannot afford the insurance hikes/losses/costs of medicine let alone up to $700 for a pee cup.Elderly couple in KY BOTH have to do that.Thats $1400 just for a $5.00 test then add their part of the doctors visit and medicine that keeps increasing. WHATS THE GOVERNMENT doing?? Trying to rid the country of sick people? STOP ALLOWING LIFETIME BENEFITS for members of congress for one thing.LOWER their incomes and make them pay at least in part for their benefits like the average working man has to. THAT would be a nice start. Im sick of being sick as it is but now Im really sick over all of this. CANADA is sounding pretty good right now. My BCBS costs us well over $100.00 a WEEK and now is going UP 62%!!! AND I am losing my doctor of 4 years already lost the specialists I saw at UT and because I am chronic pain try finding a new doctor in this area..they dont want all of the new laws rules regulations and paperwork that goes along with it. I tried calling a clinic with multple specialists and a see the cardiologist and nutricionist and because Im a chronic pain patient they would not accept me even JUST for the cardiologist.What a crying shame.What is this country coming to.Remove the doctors who are in it for money over care..and remove the governments free benefits they get and start taking CARE of our elderly and veterans.

fischbobber's picture

With all due respect.....

The focus of your attack was on people who had the healthcare you need and should have.

You advocate drug testing, in clear violation of the fourth amendment, yet complain about the costs.

If you want change, you need to focus your anger on those creating the problem and the problem itself. Going after a working person's insurance, regardless of his/her employer will just make the situation worse. We shouldn't be taking insurance away from people with decent insurance, we should be bringing people with substandard insurance up to and acceptable level.

As long as those with power and money keep those without power and money fighting among themselves, they will retain , not only the power and money, but the control of the decisions that affect the lives of the rest of us.

Don't kid yourself, getting you used to healthcare being a privilege is just the first step. These people will be coming after your food and water next, and getting folks like you to explain who doesn't deserve food and water and why.

earlnemo's picture

"The ACA marketplace rules

"The ACA marketplace rules often change in the middle of the game. Beyond closing the gap between the medical costs we need to cover in our premiums, there are changes that could occur next year, midyear that could put us in a loss position yet again," Vaughn said. "The prospect of future losses has us in a place where we believe we need to reduce our risk in hopes that this marketplace will stabilize at some point.”

What is this in reference to?

traveler's picture

He's probably referring to

He's probably referring to the various bailout programs built into Obamacare--risk adjustment, reinsurance, and risk corridors, especially the latter.

A number of the insurers were counting on risk corridor payments to cover losses. Money was supposed to be taken from insurers with profits and paid to those with losses. But (almost) none had profits, so there was no money to spread.

The administration had told insurers the federal government would pay into the fund if underfunded, but didn't have statutory authority.

Net result: insurers set rates and signed up enrollees based on the administration's promises, then got stiffed. Tennessee's co-op folded for want of that payment, they said.

“Last week’s announcement of a risk corridor reimbursement of just 12.6% cast doubt on the collectability of over $17 million of CHA’s risk corridor receivable and led to an unavoidable outcome,” said Jerry Burgess, President and CEO. link

Once burned, twice shy.

Those programs had been holding premiums artificially low by offsetting some of the insurers' losses, but expire this year (if I recall correctly). That's another factor.

R. Neal's picture

US taxpayers are paying BCBS

US taxpayers are paying BCBS Tennessee over $800 million per year in subsidies. Where is all the money going?

Andy Axel's picture

That's an excellent question

Address that to...

Comm. Julie Mix McPeak
Dept of Commerce & Insurance
500 James Robertson Pkwy
Nashville, TN 37243

(615) 741-2705

Might also try the BCBST corporate office. Audited financials should be available.

Julius Travers's picture

Government employees and BCBST "Blue" Network Plan S

When BCBS started dropping physicians who accepted PLAN S it didnt affect any government employee's who had plan S.Anyone in Tennessee who had certain "low income" or government paid insurance plans like plan S could no longer see certain physicians and MANY physicians at UT Knox were dropped from those plans..BUT..and a BIG BUTT..if you were/are a Governmemt employee you could/can still see those physicians...go figure.

If I'm correctly following what you're saying, a government employee on the BCBST "Blue" Network, also known as "S", is somehow still allowed to see physicians at institutions that no longer accept this plan. I am a retired state employee, and I received notification from BCBST that the University of TN Hospital in Knoxville no longer accepts this plan.

However, I could, if I so chose to do so, see a physician at U-T Hospital, but it would be considered an out-of-network visit, and my co-pay for such a visit would have a dramatic increase. So, when you say that government employees were not affected by the non-acceptance of Network "S", that is not entirely correct.

B Harmon's picture

University of TN employees

I can only speak for UT employees (my spouse is employed there) and we can still see our UT doctors under the state plan with BCBS, S network. It appears that the state contract is the only one that BCBS is honoring the S network contract with the doctors there.

bizgrrl's picture

Very sad if the agreement did

Very sad if the agreement did not include retired employees.

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