Press release from the Senate Republican Caucus, January 8, 2016:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As Vice Chairman of Tennessee’s Senate Committee on Commerce, Senator Mark Green, MD (R-Clarksville) has submitted a written request for testimony from Commissioner Julie McPeak to explain the specific process and justification for the double-digit increases in premium costs to health insurance customers in 2015.
“The countless complaints received from constituents about the skyrocketing premiums for their health insurance plans points to a possible problem,” observed Green who represents Montgomery, Houston and Steward Counties. “While there are federal mandates, our state government has a process by which rate increases are approved. The public needs to understand that process and be assured that the increases in costs are justified based on the care they are personally receiving.”
Individual plans offered in Tennessee must now meet the federal requirements specified by the “Affordable Care Act” – Obamacare. With the standardization of plans featuring uniform services, costs have escalated to the patients covered. The greatest contributing factor that appears to impact the increases that have averaged more than 36% but have reached as high as 45% is the significant loss of revenue to insurers in 2014 for the new pool of premium holders. This despite trends reflecting a leveling of medical costs and employer plan premiums.
“Commissioner McPeak will be asked to address the statewide complaints that have dramatically increased over the last few months,” continued Dr. Green, a practicing physician. “We must be guardians of the public trust and seek the answers to this sudden change to the budgets of Tennessee families.”
In a letter dated January 7, 2016, Senator Green requested TN Senator Jack Johson (R-Brentwood), who leads as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, to ask Commissioner Julie McPeak to appear before the committee as a whole to offer testimony on the matter.
Tennessee’s 109th General Assembly reconvenes on Tuesday, January 12 at noon with the Senate Commerce Committee resuming its schedule at 3:30 pm CT the same day.