The Haslam administration announced Tuesday that it will allow insurance companies in Tennessee to renew private medical-coverage policies that don’t meet minimum requirements set forth in the Affordable Acre Act.
A statement released from Gov. Haslam’s office indicates the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Industry is giving the go-ahead to insurance companies doing business here to take President Barack Obama up on his promise to forgo enforcing elements of the new federal health care law for one year.
“Tennesseans should be able to keep the health care coverage that they were promised they could keep,” Haslam said in the release. “To have an insurance market with a variety of options is good for consumers and good for Tennessee.”
Last week Obama said he’d permit insurance companies to renew plans to individuals and small businesses that don’t actually meet minimum coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act. The president announced the decision during a press conference in which he acknowledged that the ACA launch “has been rough so far” and “wrought with a whole range of problems that I’ve been deeply concerned about.” President Obama then gave state insurance regulators who “still have the power to decide what plans can and can’t be sold in their states” the green light to sign off on “current plans that would otherwise be canceled into 2014.”
When Tennessee’s insurance commissioner, Julie Mix McPeak, spoke with Haslam about the matter last week, the governor joked that “the president seems to be delegating his authority to you.” McPeak later said she supports allowing the extensions and that “more competition in the marketplace benefits everyone.” But she cautioned that companies may, for a variety of strategic, technical or business reasons, already be committed to cancelling existing plans that don’t comply with Obamacare and they might not be interested in renewing them at this stage.
In her statement accompanying Haslam’s release Tuesday, McPeak noted that while the state will indeed allow companies to extend coverage plans they weren’t otherwise planning to renew, “it is at the discretion of Tennessee insurance providers to determine whether it is feasible to offer those previously cancelled policies.”