Knoxville, Tennessee may end up being the very fist U.S. city to experience a complete collapse in Obamacare. If so, tens of thousands of the city’s residents will be left without subsidized insurance policy options.
Humana is the last remaining Obamacare exchange insurance provider in Knoxville. CNN reports that the insurance group announced that it will be backing out of the Obamacare program in 2018.
This will leave many an estimated 40,000 citizens in Knoxville without affordable health care coverage. There’s no guarantee that another insurance provider will come along and fill the void left by Humana. Therefore, many people won’t have the option to purchase Obamacare-subsidized insurance plans.
Anti-Obamacare experts say this is one of the main issues with the subsidized health insurance program:
“It doesn’t promote market-based competition.”
When a marketplace isn’t cost-efficient for an insurance provider to provide services, that insurer will get out of the market. This results in fewer insurance options for consumers, at much higher prices.
Tennessee is one of the largest casualties of the current health care system. Three insurers have pulled out of the state entirely, the state’s co-op failed and premiums continue to skyrocket annually by double-digits. Tennessee’s health commissioner has all but given up, describing the state’s health care system as “very near collapse.”
As it stands, insurance providers have until July 1 to let state authorities know what plans they will provide, if any, on the exchanges in 2018. State officials expect a formal announcement from providers within two months.
Knoxville citizens would still have the option of purchasing insurance on the private marketplace. Without the Obamacare subsidy to purchase insurance, it is unclear how many consumers would choose to participate in the private insurance market.
To help struggling consumers in their state, Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee put forth legislation that would allow consumers to use Obamacare subsidies to purchase any state-approved insurance plan on the private marketplace. If the bill passes, it would remain in effect through 2019.