Haslam OKs health plan extension

Friday, November 15, 2013, Vol. 37, No. 46

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday that he will allow an extension to Tennessee residents whose health insurance plans were deemed invalid under the federal health care law.

The one-year extension comes after President Barack Obama announced last week that state insurance commissioners could allow health care insurers to extend current plans that would otherwise be canceled in 2014.

Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak says it will be left up to Tennessee insurance providers to determine whether it is feasible to offer the previously canceled policies.

"It is important that we have a diverse insurance market and that we're providing Tennesseans with plans that are the best fit in terms of benefits offered and cost," she said.

Last week, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the state's largest health insurer, announced it will extend coverage.

"At BlueCross, we've always believed people should be a ble to choose the plan they think best meets their needs, so we support this effort to let our individual members and small business customers keep their existing coverage," the insurer said in a statement.