The state is still debating whether or not it can implement its own online marketplace.
Bill Haslam, the governor of Tennessee, has announced that the state’s leaders are still working on the decision as to whether or not they will be capable of creating and operating their own health insurance exchange, or whether they will need to hand that responsibility over to the federal government.
The final decision regarding this requirement of the Affordable Care Act must be in by Friday.
The healthcare reforms necessitate that every state has its own online health insurance exchange program. They are designed to allow small businesses, individuals, and families to shop from among different subsidized plans so that they can choose the option with the benefits and premiums that are best suited to their needs. Those exchanges will be put into place and fully operational by January 1, 2014.
Tennessee is trying to determine if running a health insurance marketplace, themselves, is best.
According to Haslam, who has been openly opposed to the health insurance and healthcare reforms, “It’s a choice for us of kind of picking between the lesser of two evils.” He went on to explain that “The simpler thing to do is that, say, ‘Here, it’s your idea, you run it,’” but added “I’m just not convinced yet that’s what’s best for our citizens.”
Including Tennessee, there are currently 24 states that have received a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant in order to fund the study needed to decide whether or not they feel it is in their best interest to run their own health insurance exchange. Should they decide that they will not be creating their own marketplace, the federal government will take over and do it for them.
So far, there are seven states that have made the decision not to create their own exchanges. They are: Wisconsin, Maine, South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and New Hampshire.
Governor Haslam has said that it would be his administration’s preference to run the health insurance marketplace, themselves, as it will provide them with the flexibility and choice to make it a more efficient program.