Tennessee to allow insurers to reverse policy cancellations

Arkansas-Tennessee Live Blog

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has announced that the state will allow insurance companies to extend health insurance policies cancelled under the Affordable Care Act for one year.

The announcement comes after President Barack Obama said last week that states could allow health insurers to extend current plans that would otherwise be cancelled in 2014.

The president has faced heavy criticism for the fact that millions of health insurance policies were cancelled across the country despite his assurances that Americans could keep their plans if they liked them.

About 66,000 Tennesseeans are facing cancelled policies from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee alone.

"Tennesseans should be able to keep the health care coverage that they were promised they could keep," Haslam said in a news release. "To have an insurance market with a variety of options is good for consumers and good for Tennessee."

The state's Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak recommended the policy extensions after gathering input from "stakeholders accross the state."

But the commissioner said ultimately it will be up to insurance companies to decide whether they will extend already cancelled policies or point consumers to new options.

"It is at the discretion of Tennessee insurance providers to determine whether it is feasible to offer those previously cancelled policies," McPeak said.

For more information, read Wednesday's Times Free Press.