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Patience Urged with Healthcare Marketplace Glitches

PHOTO: Tennessee is among the states that did not create its own health care exchange, so patience is being urged while fixes to the marketplace are under way.
PHOTO: Tennessee is among the states that did not create its own health care exchange, so patience is being urged while fixes to the marketplace are under way.
October 28, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The race is on to fix glitches in the roll-out of America's new online health care marketplace, and patience is being urged for those trying to sign up. Since Tennessee did not create its own exchange, it is among the states using the federal website.

Steven Emmert, COO, Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, said despite the issues, the demand underscores the need.

"It speaks to the fact that the people want to do the responsible thing," Emmert said. "They want health insurance, they understand it's important and they're willing to do what they need to do to get there."

Emmert also noted that the average cost in Tennessee for health care plans under the exchange is the second lowest in the country.

"The other thing that people need to realize is that some of the tax credits from the federal government are for individuals who earn up to 400 percent of the poverty level," he added. "So not only are we getting great rates, but if you are an individual and making less than about $45,000 a year, you might actually get some tax credits to help you out with those monthly premiums, as well."

Increasing the number in the state who have coverage will improve public health overall, including the health of women, who will be more likely to get regular checkups since there are no copays for preventive care, according to Emmert.

"We know from our experience that women are much more apt to put their own health to the side in order to buy their kid a new coat or a new pair of shoes or a new backpack for school," he said. "It's our strong belief that when women don't have to worry about a copay, they'll take advantage of those preventive health care services."

The deadline to enroll is Dec. 15 for those who want coverage beginning in January 2014; everyone is required to have health insurance by April 1. Nearly 900,000 Tennesseans are currently without health insurance, and about one-third of them are expected to qualify for subsidies and tax credits to help cover the cost.

Enrollment forms and more information are available at http://1.usa.gov.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TN