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In Tennessee, the health insurance sector can definitely benefit from major improvements, seeing that a considerable portion of its population still goes without coverage. The same goes true when it comes to the overall health of its citizens, especially since the state still faces many challenges in this aspect.

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Doing better in health rankings

Ranking 43rd out of 51 in the 2015 Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance, the state definitely has a lot to improve upon in terms of health. If it performs as great as the best-performing state, 467,458 more adults can obtain insurance. It can also reduce the number of emergency department visits among Medicare adults by more than 36,100.

It scored 4s (lowest possible) in “Avoidable Hospital Use & Costs,” “Healthy Lives,” and “Equity.” It did slightly better under “Access” and “Prevention & Treatment,” where it scored 3. Key takeaways from the state’s Healthy Lives performance include the following:

  • Mortality amenable to healthcare: 110 out of 100,000 people

  • Breast cancer fatalities: 22.4 out of 100,000 women

  • Colorectal cancer fatalities: 16.6 out of 100,000 people

  • Percentage of adult smokers: 23%

  • Adult obesity: 33%

  • Obesity in children aged 10-17: 34%

As for Access, here are some of the study’s findings:

  • 17% of adults (19 to 64 years old) don’t have insurance, compared with the national average of 15%

  • 5% of children (infants to 18 years old) are uninsured, as opposed to the countrywide average of 6%

  • 16% of the adult population chose not to obtain insurance due to the high costs associated with it, in comparison with the 16% average in the U. S.

  • 22% of adults had expensive out-of-pocket medical bills, 4% fewer than the 16% national average

4.1% reduction in number of uninsured residents

One good thing that happened in the state over the years is the decrease in its uninsured rating. From 14.4% in 2010, it went down to 10.3% in 2015, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports. This 4.1% drop represented 266,000 more people gaining coverage throughout the study’s duration, with the state’s then population estimated at 6,651,194 (2015, latest data1).

Lowering this down even more can help a lot of people lead a healthier, higher quality of life, while also paving the way for better state-wide premiums.

Set your expectations for your 2017 premiums

Although TN has an average rate increase of 50.77%, more than double of the national average of 25%, its consumers will still find plans that they can afford. This is especially true for those who’ll choose to switch to a plan under the same metal tier, or those who’ll take advantage of the advance premium tax credit.

Check out these projections from the United States Department of Health & Human Services to have some idea on how much premiums are at in the state this year:

  • Average lowest-cost, monthly premium within metal level: $575

  • Average net premium for lowest cost plan within metal tier: $95

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $385

  • Second-lowest silver after advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $142

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a family of four with a $60,000 household income): $1,393

  • Second-lowest silver after advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $405

A key priority for improvement: Health

Tennessee should prioritize making its residents healthier, which can drastically change the lives of its people for the better. Leading healthier lives means considerably fewer emergency department visits and preventable medical problems. In addition, this will also help make insurance in the state more accessible for a greater number of people, ultimately leading to even lower uninsured rating and highly likely, lower rate increases. To learn more, click this.

References:

https://www.healthinsurance.org/tennessee-state-health-insurance-exchange/

http://datacenter.commonwealthfund.org/scorecard/state/44/tennessee/

https://aspe.hhs.gov/compilation-state-data-affordable-care-act

https://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/212721/2017MarketplaceLandscapeBrief.pdf

1Latest data: The U.S. census is conducted every 10 years as per requirement of the United States Constitution. The 23rd edition and the latest data is the 2010 United States Census. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_Census
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