How do I get health insurance in Tennessee?
That is a very good question. There are, in fact, several ways to acquire coverage these days here in Tennessee.
Just for the record there is no right or wrong way to get health insurance. You need to get coverage that fits your needs and budget. For some that might mean government assistance and for others a short term plan.
But, the question was how, not what, right?
The most common ways to find insurance are:
a) Ask your employer
b) The Marketplace
c) TennCare (Medicaid)
d) Private insurance
You are probably asking where to find insurance because you already asked your employer. Or you missed the opportunity to enroll for the year and you are without coverage. But, some folks never even think to ask. It is usually a good idea since they are likely going to pay part of the premium for you. But, fewer employers are offering insurance and if they are it is not always a great option.
Many people ask me about the “Marketplace” but are generally unfamiliar with it. This is the health insurance exchange that was organized by the federal government and became available in 2014. These are major medical plans that have been structured to provide specific benefits to its members and accepts everyone regardless of health.
These plans are best suited for folks that need financial assistance or have major preexisting conditions. You can find these plans listed on the exchange website or call them directly at 800-318-2596. The exchange is open from November 1st through December 15th of each year.
If you can’t enroll there because you missed the open enrollment period and you need financial assistance you can contact the folks at the State of Tennessee in the Department of Human Service and apply for TennCare. This is Tennessee’s name for Medicaid. Medicaid is partially paid for by the state and partially by the federal government.
You have to be below a certain income level to qualify. You will need to contact them directly to get the exact information. I do not want to misguide you. You can reach them via their website at TN.gov or call them at 855-259-0701.
If however you are certain that your income is well above the threshold for assistance then you would want to find a local Nashville health insurance agent that knows the insurance landscape and can properly guide you to the best option for you and your family.
Where do you find a local agent? Simply do an online search using your zip code and you should find several close to you. You can use Google or Bing. Both are great search engines. You will have a lot of choices. Not only with agents but in coverage options.
The two ways that you would find the best coverage for you and your family would be using your income and your health as guides. If you are in an income bracket that would allow you to get assistance then I would usually recommend that. However, if you are well outside the range for assistance and you are relatively healthy then I suggest you shop for private market plans that are medically underwritten.
People that are on medically underwritten plans generally enjoy lower premiums and more stable prices over time. This is due to the fact that they tend to have fewer and smaller claims. So to protect the “low risk” pool applicants are screened based on their health history.
These plans tend to be more affordable than other major medical type plans (plans with an annual max out of pocket). Also, you may have access to more exclusive plans with benefits not available everywhere or to everyone. These types of plans are my first choice for clients that are generally healthy and cannot qualify for any assistance.
Health Insurance Nashville, Tennessee