Alexander’s Obamacare patch bill benefits TN Farm Bureau insurance

Top of a WPLN report:

Last month, Sen. Lamar Alexander proposed a bill intended to help people who live where health insurance companies are pulling out of the Affordable Care Act marketplace. It would apply nationwide but indirectly references one specific organization in the senator’s home state: Tennessee Farm Bureau.

The not-for-profit organization advocates for farmers and rural areas, and it also offers health coverage. Some of its plans are compliant with the Affordable Care Act, although they are not sold on the federal marketplace. Others, called “traditional plans,” cover certain health care expenses but legally are not considered insurance.

These traditional plans require Farm Bureau membership, are not regulated by the state and can turn people away for pre-existing conditions. People who buy these plans still have to pay the federal tax penalty for not having health insurance, because technically they don’t.

Yet the monthly premiums for traditional plans are low and can still be a good deal, even with a penalty. “People have done the math, and in many cases they’re able to pay the premium for one of our traditional coverages and pay the tax penalty — and still come out better, in some cases considerably better,” says Ryan Brown, senior vice president of health plans at Tennessee Farm Bureau.

Alexander’s bill,  co-sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker, would make the math even more favorable: It would eliminate the penalty altogether for people who live in parts of the country where there are no options for health insurance on the federal marketplace next year. This is something the state says could happen in the Knoxville area, because the last remaining insurer on the marketplace there — Humana — says it will not stay on for 2018.

One Response to Alexander’s Obamacare patch bill benefits TN Farm Bureau insurance

  • Amy (Harshman) Green says:

    they’ll come out better until they get sick or unless they have any type of pre-existing condition which in the Farm Bureau can metastasize and be viewed as pre-existing to preclude coverage for anything.

    So glad you are back at this, Tom! It is so great to see the Capital Hill Press Corps back where they belong!!

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ABOUT THIS BLOG
Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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