Sep. 10, 2013 4:53 AM
The state of Tennessee this month notified thousands of residents that they will lose coverage under a TennCare-sponsored program that helps small businesses and the self-employed buy health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act.
The letter states that as a limited-benefit plan, CoverTN does not cover all the services required by the federal law and will no longer exist as of Jan. 1. CoverTN had a $25,000 annual limit on benefits. The federal health law does not allow yearly expenditure caps.
CoverTN was established in 2006 as a program in which the state, employer and employee would evenly split premium costs based on an individual’s age, tobacco use and weight.
Stacy Harris of Nashville used CoverTN for preventive care and supplemented it with another policy that had a $15,000 deductible. The private insurer had notified her it would stop offering the high-deductible policy before she got the letter from the state.
“It was all I had,” Harris said.
The law establishes subsidies tied to incomes to help people buy coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace, the federal exchange. But Harris, who publishes the Internet guide Stacy’s Music Row Report and has investment income, said she made too much money to get much help.
“I figured it out,” she said. “It’s not pretty.”
Families USA, an advocacy organization for health-care consumers, was critical of CoverTN, calling it a “bare-bones health plan” in a 2009 report. The organization pointed out the plan’s limits on hospital coverage, prescription drugs and cancer treatment.