Brian Haile, former head of the TN Health Insurance Exchange Planning unit, and now Sr. VP for Health Policy at Jackson-Hewitt, authored a study that shows that Tennessee employers may incur $60 to $89 million in tax penalties if TennCare is not expanded under the ACA.
The employer penalties could materialize if employees, who otherwise would qualify for TennCare under the new expansion policy, seek insurance coverage through the exchange instead of taking unaffordable employer-sponsored coverage. These employees, making 100-138% of the federal policy level, will receive federal subsidies to purchase insurance on the exchange. If this occurs, employers would pay $3,000/employee seeking exchange coverage in penalties. If TennCare is expanded and employees enroll in TennCare instead of accessing coverage through the exchange, employers will have no penalty payments.
Governor Haslam is expected to announce his decision on whether or not Tennessee should expand TennCare under the ACA by the end of March.
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