Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee announced Monday that it is withdrawing from the Affordable Care Act exchanges next year in the state's three largest markets: Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville.
The Memphis-based carrier said on its website that it will continue to offer exchange coverage in its five other Tennessee regions, in mostly rural counties across the state.
The Tennessee Blues said on its website that “many challenges” forced a difficult but necessary pullback. About 112,000 exchange enrollees will have to find a new carrier in 2017, while 80,000 enrollees outside the three metro areas can stay with the Blues if they wish.
"We're disappointed in this development, but want to help you understand how we made this decision and how it affect you,” a statement on the company's website said.
After three years of exchange losses, the insurer is trying to prune its membership to at least break-even financially, Blues spokesman Roy Vaughn told the Tennessean in an interview Monday.
The withdrawal by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee is the latest in a flood of exchange departures across the country.
Starting in the 2017 plan year, Aetna will drop its exchange presence from 15 states to four, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to switch to new plans. The remaining states where Aetna will sell on-exchange policies are Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia. Aetna exchange plans will be available in 242 counties, down from 778 this year.