Memphis, TN – Families USA is a national organization for health care consumers. Ron Pollack is the executive director. He says Tennessee's current health care plan not only neglects the population it is supposed to insure but could leave those same individuals with medical bankruptcy.
"With respect to inpatient hospital care for example; under Plan A basics, the limit in terms of inpatient hospital care is $10,000 per year. Under Plan B, it is $15,000. This is extraordinary because the average charge per single hospital stay in Tennessee in the year 2006 was $22,151 dollars," Pollack said
The two plans offered with CoverTN provides either $1000 a year or $300 a year to cover medical prescription costs. Tony Garr, Director of the Tennessee Health Care Campaign says the average annual cost for Tennessee consumers is $1,234. Garr says CoverTN patients are not always aware of their limitations. The low premiums they pay are what end up hurting them in the long run. Those premiums vary by age, weight, tobacco use or history of illness. The state of Tennessee pays one-third of the cost. A healthy individual can expect to pay around $37 a month, a smoker can pay as much as three times that amount. Pollack says the limitations are evident in the low sign up for the program.
"It is our understanding that the projection by the state was that it would reach approximately 100,000 individuals in the year 2010. As of December 2008, it hadn't even reached one out of five of those people targeted, it had only reached around 18,000 people."
Pollack says CoverTN is simply an insurance plan that doesn't insure.