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Some Tennesseans see new carriers, lower prices as Obamacare Open Enrollment begins


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Obamacare annual enrollment is now open, and some new health care options are available here in Tennessee for 2019 coverage.



The Tennessee Department of Insurance says one new carrier is entering the state market, another is returning after a few year’s absence, and two are expanding coverage.


In addition, department spokesperson Baylie Scott says two longtime Tennessee health insurance companies are announcing the first rate decreases the marketplace has seen since its 2014 launch.


“Signa proposed a 2019 rate decrease of 12.9 percent. BlueCross BlueShield requested an average rate decrease of 14.8 percent.”


Obamacare Navigators are available statewide to help customers choose among the confusing array of policies available from the online federal marketplace. In Murfreesboro, those Navigators can be found at the Primary Care and Hope Clinic.


Some policyholders qualify for federal tax credts to help cover the cost of premiums. The clinic’s Cindy Rhea says a lot of the questions her Navigators are getting this year have to do with those subsidies.


“A lot of the consumers are worried and interested about the tax credits, and they’re concerned they may not qualify. So basically the cost of the insurance; those are kind of the biggest concerns right now.”


Rhea says that in spite of Obamacare, about 3 in 10 of the clinics patients still don’t have health insurance. The ones who do, can’t always afford deductibles.


Just under 200,000 Tennesseans currently hold Affordable Care Act policies. Obamacare open enrollment continues through Dec.15 at healthcare.gov.