Blake Farmer

More Tennesseans seem to be buying health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, even though advertising has dropped considerably under the Trump Administration. Open enrollment for 2018 ends Friday at midnight, and the number of applications processed by federally-funded insurance guides — known as navigators — has already surpassed last year. Many enrollees are finding that despite a leap in average price, they are paying less.

Forensic experts say they're alarmed by two drug combinations that recently showed up in the TBI crime lab. One is a mixture of fentanyl and methamphetamine. Another is cocaine, heroin and fentanyl.

Tennessee is in a better position than most states as funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program runs out. Congress still hasn't reauthorized what's known as CHIP, and some states are already beginning to send out letters telling families to prepare for coverage to go away.

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Country star Mel Tillis died yesterday after a long illness. He was 85. Blake Farmer of member station WPLN says the prolific songwriter's road to fame wasn't an easy one.

One of Nashville's most prolific hit-makers died Sunday. Mel Tillis spent the last year dealing with intestinal issues, according to his publicist. He died at a hospital in Ocala, Florida, at age 85.

TennCare has tightened controls on opioid prescriptions in recent years, and the state's Medicaid program plans to go a step further next year. It's an effort to decrease the use of highly addictive narcotics — and save some money.

This year's Country Music Association Awards were meant to provide healing for an industry shaken by the massacre at a festival in Las Vegas last month. Wednesday night's show paid tribute to the fans who became victims, but it also reinforced how few of the artists want to talk about the gun debate reignited by the tragedy.

The head the Southern Baptist Convention's political arm says there's no gun control policy outlined in the Bible. And so the powerful Nashville-based denomination isn't taking a position, even after more than 20 members of a Texas congregation were murdered in their own sanctuary on Sunday.

Tennesseans may end up paying less for insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace this year — that's as average rates went up by as much as 42 percent. Even the people who assist in signups for coverage were surprised by the final costs they're seeing.

So-called health care navigators in Tennessee are making the most of a downsized open enrollment period for Obamacare insurance plans. They're holding kickoff parties Wednesday as the shortened 6-week window begins.

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