CBS: Some Obamacare Users in Tennessee ‘Really Nervous’

• November 1, 2016 11:25 am


CBS spotlighted on Tuesday the worries that some Americans have about the Affordable Care Act, interviewing a Tennessee family that will lose its health insurance plan on Jan. 1 unless it pays more for another plan.

While open enrollment for Obamacare begins Tuesday, CBS anchor Norah O'Donnell said consumers could face significant rate hikes on their premiums and that there will be fewer options in some states.

CBS correspondent Margaret Brennan interviewed Eric Jans, an insurance broker who lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife and two young children. Brennan said that the Jans family was living comfortably until health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield pulled out of the Obamacare exchange market. Most of Jans' 300 clients were covered by Blue Cross.

"Your clients, can they still afford healthcare?" Brennan asked.

"A lot of them are really nervous right now. Really nervous," Jans said.

Brennan said that Jans was paid by Blue Cross, but then he lost that income and his family's insurance.

"You're an insurance broker without insurance for your family?" Brennan asked.

"As of Jan. 1, unless we jump onto something else. We are looking at maybe $750 per month this year to $1100 next year," Jans said.

"$1100 a month?" Brennan asked.

"Right. For a family of four," Jans responded.

With Blue Cross Blue Shield's exit from Tennessee, many people will face the same consequences as the Jans family.

"Blue Cross Blue Shield left the Obamacare exchange in three major Tennessee markets, citing a loss of $500 million over three years. That leaves 73 of the state's 95 counties with only one insurer–and average premiums up more than 50 percent. Other major insurers including Aetna, UnitedHealth, and Humana have also exited markets in other states," Brennan reported.

Brennan said that one of the main reasons for these premium hikes is that there have not been enough young healthy people signing up to offset the sicker population, adding that the Obama administration is looking to aggressively target and sign up 14 million people.

When asked if the major health insurers will come back if the Obama administration meets its goal of 14 million people, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell said that she thinks they will.

"You know, I think a number of them will. I think a number of them will over time as they look and see what happens in the marketplace," Burwell said.