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Finding affordable health insurance in Tennessee (whether you live in Nashville, next to the Great Smoky Mountains or somewhere else in the Volunteer State) doesn’t have to be a challenge. We’ve compiled a list of the best health insurance providers to help you save money.
Best Health Insurance in Tennessee:
- Best Overall: Oscar
- Most Affordable: Bright
- Best Customer Service: Cigna
- Best Value: BCBS
- Best for Coverage Selections: Farm Bureau of Tennessee
What is Health Insurance?
Health insurance is designed to help provide coverage for medical needs when you’re ill or injured. It can also help offset the cost of managing chronic conditions like diabetes or asthma. The high cost of sudden and unforeseen medical expenses can swallow up your savings in an instant. That’s why it’s important to get the right insurance.
There are several ways you can get health insurance — through your employer, the government, state exchanges or through individual insurance plans.
You’ll come across a wide range of terms for affordable health insurance plans in Tennessee. Familiarize yourself with these terms and their definitions so you’ll know what you’re responsible for paying.
- A premium is a monthly fee that’s paid to the insurance company in order to keep your policy active.
- You pay out of pocket for a deductible before your insurance coverage kicks in. All insurance plans have different deductibles. Let’s say you have a higher deductible — your premium will be lower. A lower deductible means you’ll pay a higher premium each month. Some insurance plans have no deductible at all.
- A copay is a flat fee you pay each time you go to the doctor or get a prescription filled. Copays are usually not very much money, but it’s important to note that your copay does not go toward meeting your deductible.
- Coinsurance is a percentage that is shared between you and the insurance company. Some common coinsurance amounts:
- 80/20, where the insurance company pays 80% of the cost and you pay 20%
- 70/30, where the insurance company pays 70% and you pay 30%
Average Cost of Health Insurance in Tennessee
Residents of Tennessee pay an average of $7,372 per year on health insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s a few hundred dollars below the national average. Certain factors can raise your costs:
- Body mass index: A high body mass index (BMI) can cause certain negative health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. Insurance companies use BMI as one of the many factors to assess your risk level and how much you’ll pay for insurance.
- Tobacco use: Smokers pay more for health insurance. Nearly 23% of Tennessee residents smoke — this is the fourth-highest number in the country.
- Age: Older people generally have more health conditions, so you may pay as much as 3 times more if you’re a senior citizen.
Eat right, exercise and stop smoking: You’ll save hundreds of dollars on your Tennessee health insurance.
Types of Health Coverage
Here are some of the health coverage plans available in Tennessee:
- Health maintenance organization (HMO): HMOs provide health care services through predetermined networks of physicians, providers and facilities. You don’t have as much freedom to choose your health care providers. A primary care physician is responsible for your care. You’ll need a referral from this physician to see a specialist, and the specialist must be in the HMO network to be covered by your health insurance.
- Preferred provider organization (PPO): A PPO gives you more freedom to choose your own doctor and hospital. You don’t need a referral to see a specialist. You may have to pay more if you see out-of-network doctors. When you see a doctor that’s outside of your PPO network, you’ll have to file a claim with the PPO so you’re reimbursed for some portion of your funds.
- Point of service (POS) plan: A combination of HMO and PPO features, POS plans give you more freedom to choose your doctor like a PPO network. You’ll have to pay the bill and then file a claim with the POS to be paid back for a portion of the money you spent if you see an out-of-network doctor.
What Does Health Insurance Cover?
Generally speaking, health insurance plans cover treatment for illnesses and injuries but also cover preventive care like health screenings and vaccinations. There’s often no cost associated with preventive services. What’s covered and not covered will depend on your plan, but core benefits are normally the same across all health insurance plans. Health insurance usually covers:
- Ambulance services
- Emergency services
- Newborn and maternity care
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative services
- Laboratory services
- Mental health care
- Wellness checks
- Pediatric care
What Does Health Insurance Not Cover?
Health insurance covers a majority of the costs associated with the treatment of illnesses or injuries but there are some things that insurance companies do not cover. These include:
- Elective or cosmetic procedures, like weight-loss surgery or plastic surgery
- Long-term nursing home care
- Infertility treatments
- LASIK (laser surgery to improve vision)
- Alternative therapies
- Dental, vision and hearing
Best Health Insurance Providers in Tennessee
Check out our top picks for the top health insurance providers in Tennessee. It’ll help you answer the “how to get health insurance” question once and for all.
Oscar is a relatively new player in the world of health insurance.
It offers doctor-on-call services, a concierge team and you can also see a specialist without a referral.
Oscar’s app syncs with your Google Fit or Apple Health device and pays you $1 a day (up to $100) when you reach your health care goals.
Bright is another newcomer to the health insurance industry and prides itself on working with top doctors and hospitals throughout Tennessee.
This carefully-curated network allows you to enjoy 24/7 nurse hotlines, same-day appointments, after-hours appointments — no referrals are needed.
Other convenient features include online bill pay and scheduling, text message reminders, health coaching and in-home care.
Cigna is a top choice for individuals and families in Tennessee.
It offers an expansive network of doctors and hospitals. Eligible in-network preventive care is 100% covered, plus you can opt to add a dental plan which allows you to see any dentist, even one outside of the Cigna network.
Emergency room care is available both in and out of network.
4. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee
BCBS of Tennessee offers 3 health insurance tiers: bronze, silver and gold.
Depending on your health care needs, you can choose lower-tier plans that have lower monthly premiums or choose a gold-tier plan which covers more costs, but at a higher deductible.
There are a variety of tiers so you can balance costs with the medical care that you need. Depending on your income level, you may be eligible for a tax credit to help pay for your health care.
5. Farm Bureau of Tennessee
You’ll need to be a member to qualify for health insurance plans from the Farm Bureau of Tennessee. It’s worth noting that medical underwriting may be required and its traditional plans do not meet the minimum requirements for the Affordable Care Act.
Its Core Choice plan covers all the basics for families and individuals, including dental and vision benefits. There are different deductible amounts, so you can choose the coverage that fits your needs.
You can also get major medical health coverage for catastrophic protection, also known as major medical insurance. Catastrophic protection covers hospitalization, physician visits and prescription drugs.
Get Great Insurance Coverage in the Volunteer State
It’s a smart idea to compare quotes from the best online companies. Rates, deductibles and premiums may differ considerably depending on the factors you choose, so don’t hesitate to get a free online quote from these featured companies so you can compare your options with confidence.