Lamar Alexander: Obamacare will increase some Tennessee premiums 190 percent

Caroline May | Reporter

Tennessee Republican Rep. Lamar Alexander slammed a health-care report issued by the Obama administration on Wednesday, noting that health insurance policy prices will actually increase for some Tennesseans entering the exchanges.

The Obama administration’s report cheered that under Obamacare, approximately 95 percent of eligible uninsured Americans live in states with lower-than-projected average health-care premiums.

“We are excited to see that rates in the Marketplace are even lower than originally projected,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “In the past, consumers were too often denied or priced-out of quality health insurance options, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act, consumers will be able to choose from a number of new coverage options at a price that is affordable.”

According to Alexander, however, the report also reveals that the new health-care law will increase premiums for some Tennesseans by as much as 190 percent.

“Why should a 27-year-old male in Memphis be forced to pay nearly three times more than what he pays today for health insurance?” Alexander said. “Why should a young woman in Nashville have to pay twice as much? This isn’t what President Obama promised Tennesseans, but it’s what he’s giving them — higher costs and less choice — two of the most urgent reasons Obamacare must be repealed and our health care system fixed.”

In four bullet points, Alexander’s office laid out “what Tennesseans can expect:”

*   Today, a 27-year-old man in Memphis can buy a plan for as low as $41 a month.  On the exchange, the lowest state average is $119 a month — a 190% increase.

*   Today, a 27-year-old woman in Nashville can also buy a plan for as low as $58 a month.  On the exchange, the lowest-priced plan in Nashville is $114 a month — a 97% increase.  Even with a tax subsidy, that plan is $104 a month, almost twice what she could pay today.

*   Today, women in Nashville can choose from 30 insurance plans that cost less than the administration says insurance plans on the exchange will cost, even with the new tax subsidy.

*  In Nashville, 105 insurance plans offered today will not be available in the exchange.

The Department of Health and Human Services argued in a release that Obamacare will offer more affordable, broader options for consumers. It claimed that a hypothetical 27-year old in Dallas, Texas making $25,000 annually would pay $74 a month for the lowest health care in the “bronze plan” category, $139 for he lowest cost “silver plan,” including tax credits, and could choose from 43 plans.

According to HHS, 60 percent of currently uninsured Americans would be able to find health insurance coverage for less than $100 a month in the exchanges, including tax credits and Medicaid coverage.

The exchanges open on Tuesday.

This post has been updated to reflect changes in calculations from Alexander’s office. 

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