Tens of thousands of Tennesseans might soon find cheaper health care insurance as part of Obamacare, if what's being found in other states applies in the Volunteer State.
The largest study of its kind of 17-states and the District of Columbia says premiums on the new exchanges that open next month will be lower than expected in many cases.
The study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation says the medical insurance premiums people can buy on the exchanges that begin in October will be lower that previously projected by the Congressional Budget Office.
Many analysts had been warning of “rate shock” once people learned the cost of the insurance on those exchanges.
“What this says is that those fears are unfounded, those rates are coming in lower than expected,” said Chris Coleman who is a health care lawyer with the Tennessee Justice Center, a group that advocates for enrollees on the state's Medicaid program Tenncare.
Coleman is one of those who has poured over the thousand plus pages of Obamacare which carries the official name of Affordable Care Act (ACA).
While Tennessee is not among the states surveyed so far, Coleman points to Baltimore, which is similar in size to Nashville as a comparison.
He says the Kaiser study found medical insurance rates for a 40-year-olds making $30,000 a year at $115 a month because they also qualify for some low-income federal subsidies as part of Obamacare.
“That is cheaper than what a 40-year-old can buy in an individual plan today in Nashville,” said Coleman after he looked at the Kaiser study. “Once you consider those subsidies, the cost is really going to be quite affordable and we are seeing insurers like this market and they are pricing their product accordingly.”
There are critics of the Kaiser study like an analysis from the Manhattan Institute posted on the Forbes.
It says rates will rise in 13 of the states by 24%, while falling in the others.
The analysis in Forbes also criticizes the Kaiser study for not comparing to pre-Obamacare rates.
Figures for the insurance rates on the exchange for Tennessee are currently unavailable.
Governor Bill Haslam decided last year to let the federal government set up the exchanges, instead of doing it under Tennessee state government.