(NOTE: This article was updated 7.18.14 to include Humana's request for an increase)
Knoxvillians who chose to purchase their health coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are currently paying some of the lowest premiums in the country. But those rates may soon be going up.
Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee has asked the federal government for permission to raise its health insurance exchange premiums an average of 19 percent in 2015. If approved, the increase would affect a majority of ACA enrollees in Tennessee; BCBST currently insures 88 percent of Tennesseans who have chosen to use the federal marketplace to purchase coverage.
A typical 40 year-old Knoxvillian paying a monthly premium of $180 for BCBST's least-expensive silver plan would see that premium increase by approximately $34 per month. However, the variety of plans, conditions and rates would affect the amount of the increase and BCBST officials say individual customers could see their premiums go up anywhere from 6.1 to 21.7 percent.
The company is asking for the rate increase because its insurance marketplace customers are sicker than company officials thought they’d be. According to the Tennessean, about half of the rate increase will pay for these unanticipated expenses, while most of the remainder will compensate for increases in the cost of medical care.
Cigna, another of the three companies offering coverage under the ACA in Tennessee, has asked for an average increase of 7.5 percent and Humana has requested a 14.4 percent average hike.