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Tennessee insurers plan to LOWER Obamacare rates in 2019

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's biggest health insurers are cutting the premiums for individual plans under the Affordable Care Act's health care exchange market for the first time.

Citing filings with state regulators on Wednesday, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee plans to reduce its average rate by 10.9 percent next year, while Cigna plans to reduce its rates by an average 4.8 percent. The proposed cuts come after four consecutive years of double-digit annual rate hikes and just before two new insurers plan to enter the Tennessee market next year.

Melina Buntin is the chair of the department of health policy at Vanderbilt University. She says these changes indicate stability in the market.

BlueCross spokeswoman Mary Danielson says the rate reduction would have been larger if the federal government hadn't suspended certain Obamacare payments.