Health Care Reform Increases Access For The Uninsured In Tennessee

By: JohnBarnes

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by President Obama led to numerous changes in the healthcare system. It is bound to impact how health care is delivered not only in Tennessee but in other states as well. The main goal of the health care reform law is to provide access to health care to millions of Americans without health coverage. These changes will affect everybody – whether you have health insurance or not. The health care overhaul presents people with both opportunities and challenges.

The Affordable Care Act Will Continue To Increase Access To Health Care

A team of researchers from the University of Memphis recently conducted an analysis on how the new law would affect Tennessee. The analysis showed that out of the state’s 910,000 uninsured; more than 558,000 under the age of 65 will gain Tennessee health insurance coverage once the health care reform is fully implemented in 2014.

More than half of the 558,000 newly insured will gain health insurance coverage though the expansion of private insurers and the remaining 240,000 will get coverage through expanded Medicaid. In addition, due to the changes in healthcare, more than 90,000 young adults will get healthcare access through their parents’ insurance policies.

Reducing the uninsured rate by more than half via the mandates of the Affordable Care Act would really help thousands of people. We are all aware that Tennessee health insurance premiums are constantly increasing making it harder and harder for people to get financial protection once they get sick. Improving access to healthcare services would lessen the financial burden on the uninsured when they get extremely sick. The fact that people will get coverage would also mean improving their well-being. If people are healthy, then this will increase productivity wherein it would be a win-win situation for everyone.

Due to the enactment of the health care reform law, new Tennessee health insurance plans now provide full coverage for preventive care services with no out-of pocket costs. Even if you haven’t met your plan’s deductible, once you go with in-network providers, 100 percent coverage is offered with no co-payments or co-insurances. This would encourage people to monitor their health condition because early detection would result in lower out-of-pocket health costs.

Challenges Faced By Health Care Reform in Tennessee

As said earlier, healthcare reform presents both opportunities and challenges. One of the challenges that the Affordable Care Act needs to face is that there is still a remaining 352,000 uninsured Tennessee residents who will have to go without Tennessee health insurance. They may have to continually rely on safety-net programs for assistance. As for those who rely on Medicaid, it does not necessarily provide full access to healthcare. Due to lower payment rates, fewer and fewer health care providers accept new Medicaid patients.

The expanded Tennessee health insurance coverage will also place a strain on the already-overburdened primary care network. It has been reported that there is a shortage of primary care physicians because the number of physicians choosing careers in primary care are decreasing. With the expanded coverage, it will necessitate additional primary care providers.

As a whole, healthcare reform by the administration will generally improve access to healthcare for many residents in Tennessee. However, it will require a full effort and commitment to give care to those who will be left behind. New strategies must be devised to meet future challenges when it comes to improving and giving access for health insurance in Tennessee.