(THE TENNESSEAN) President Barack Obama's one-year reprieve for health insurance plans that don't meet the mandates of the Affordable Care Act won't include CoverTN.
It will end Dec. 31.
The state-sponsored plan allowed employers, their workers and Tennessee to share costs, but it had a maximum annual benefit of just $25,000. The law forbids policies from having yearly or lifetime caps on medical expenses.
Tennessee had notified the plan's 16,000 enrollees in September that CoverTN would end. However, the state later sought a waiver after a mid-November announcement from the president. Obama, who had promised people they could keep their current insurance if they liked it after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, delayed for one year mandates that were resulting in policy cancellations.
Tennessee did not seek to continue CoverTN. The state just wanted a waiver to keep the plan open until April 30 of next year because of difficulties people have had enrolling on the Health Insurance Marketplace, the Web-based exchange for buying coverage and obtaining subsidies to offset premium costs.
"This would have allowed members to maintain current coverage for 30 days following the end of the marketplace open enrollment period," the state said in a news release. "However, federal officials informed the state that no waivers would be granted."
However, there's blame to be passed around for the problems people are having obtaining insurance, according to state Sen. Lowe Finney, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
"The governor has missed three opportunities to avoid the loss of coverage for thesefamilies," Finney said. "He could have set our state's essential health benefits, he could have set up our own exchange, and he could have expanded Medicaid. Their loss is a result of his missed opportunities."
Another state-sponsored insurance plan will have a different fate. This one is for people considered high-risk to insure because of pre-existing conditions.
AccessTN, even though it sets monetary caps, had received a federal reprieve because of a rule that allows high-risk insurance pools an additional year. Of the 2,600 people enrolled, about 1,900 will no longer be eligible. The state limited enrollment to people with incomes below the federal poverty level.
However, the state said Wednesday that it would extend the coverage time for those 1,900 individuals from Dec. 31 until April 30 because of the ongoing problems with the federal insurance exchange website.