More Hits For TennCare

Tennessee Blue Cross Blue Shield is planning to cut reimbursement to some doctors and hospitals. From the article:

In a report to state lawmakers, BlueCross said that while it has been able to operate at a loss “for a short period of time due to our financial strength, we cannot sustain significant operating losses.” The report indicates physician cuts will save the insurer about $25 million.

TennCare is Tennessee’s Medicaid program and provides coverage to 1.25 million poor and disabled people. Some physicians already complain about losing money on TennCare and are threatening to leave BlueCross’ TennCare networks.

In an article that was published on February 20th, The Tennessean reported that health insurers increased their profits by 56% last year while cutting some 2 million customers. Tennessee Blue Cross Blue Shield’s numbers for 2009 were not available at the time of that report.

One has to wonder how many providers will drop TennCare in the face of this reimbursement cut? Also, will other insurers follow suit, further exacerbating the problem? Most importantly, how will the care TennCare recipients receive be affected?

Lots of questions, and very few answers, but in the face of the TennCare cuts, that observers say may cost the state more than they save one has to wonder how much longer this can continue before the whole system collapses under it’s own weight, leaving 1.2m Tennesseans who currently have TennCare benefits without even the most basic care.

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