Special legislative session focused on Insure Tennessee is underway
Lawmakers in Tennessee have begun a special legislative session in order to determine the future of Insure Tennessee, the state’s Medicaid program. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam suggests that the current health care system is not working, which could be leaving many people without the medical care that they need. The Governor introduced a plan concerning the state’s health insurance program and the health care market as a whole before the beginning of the special legislative session.
Governor seeks to reform Medicaid program
The Affordable Care Act has provided states with funding that will allow them to expand their Medicaid programs, but some states opted not to expand their programs for various reasons. Governor Haslam decided against expanding the state’s Medicaid program because he viewed it as flawed. Expanding the flawed program would do little to solve the health care issues that consumers are currently experiencing, though more people would have gained access to health insurance coverage.
Expanding state’s Medicaid program will make health insurance more available
The Governor wants to see the state’s Medicaid program revised, making it different from similar programs found in other states. Federal funding would be used to accomplish this task, making coverage available to those that fall below 138% of the state’s poverty level. This would mean that individuals earning less than $16,000 a year would be able to obtain coverage through the program. The program would be funded for the first two years with federal funds, with funding diminishing over time until 2020, when the federal government will be covering 90% of the program’s costs. Tennessee hospitals have pledged to cover the difference in costs at that time forward.
New eligibility rules will make insurance coverage more accessible
Expanding the state’s Medicaid program will make health insurance more available to a wider range of people throughout Tennessee. The expanded program would have new rules of eligibility, which could benefit those that do not have insurance coverage currently. Many of these people have chosen to avoid coverage because of its expensive nature.