Uphill Battle for TN Health-Care Navigators to Sign People Up

Health-care navigators in Tennessee report having trouble convincing people to sign up for the Health Care Exchange. (Hamza Butt/flickr)

More than 260,000 people purchased private health care plans through the Health Care Exchange in Tennessee, but navigators report an uphill battle this year because people feel uncertain about the future of the Affordable Care Act.
Mary Moore is program coordinator with Get Covered Tennessee and is a health care navigator. She’s been telling people she encounters it’s better to have coverage, regardless of whether the ACA is short-lived.
“It is a contract when you sign up for a plan between you and the insurer,” Moore said. “It’s more important than ever to make sure you do have coverage so that if and when anything does change, you know that you’ve had continuous coverage.”
There have been reports that the federal government won’t run any ads to promote enrollment this year, unlike in years past under the Obama administration.
The open enrollment period is also shortened this year, from November 1 through December 15.
Moore said she knows it can be discouraging as large insurers pull out of Tennessee cities, but there remain people who don’t have another way to secure health coverage.
“It’s very important for those people to still be able to buy affordable, individual coverage that again is not going to penalize them for having a pre-existing condition,” she said.
Earlier this year, the government ended funding to 18 cities intended to help people sign up for coverage, though none of them were in Tennessee.