published Monday, November 18th, 2013

Despite health plan extension, CoverTN program expected to fold

NASHVILLE - A top TennCare official said today he doesn’t see see the state continuing with its Cover Tennessee program for an estimated 15,400 residents beyond Jan. 1 despite President Barack Obama’s offer last week to let people keep current health plans for a year if they wish.

TennCare Director Darin Gordon told Gov. Bill Haslam during a budget presentation today that under additional federal guidance Tennessee has been told the state program “doesn’t constitute what health care has to be starting Jan. 1.”

“They’re not going to continue to grant waivers for programs that had limited coverage whether it be an annual dollar limit or an individual limits for particular services,” Gordon said.

CoverTN offers affordable, bare-bones options that provide coverage for small businesses with owners, employees and the state bankrolling the costs.

During today’s hearing, Gordon also outlined $118 million in potential cuts to the TennCare program for the poor as a result of several factors.

Under one scenario to met 5 percent cuts, hospitals, doctors and other providers would see a 2.5 percent reduction in reimbursements. But Gordon said provider reductions, which would come to $46.2 million in state dollars, would only occur in a worst-case scenario.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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