CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will work to allow certain individual members and small groups with health coverage that does not meet 2014 requirements of the health care law to have the choice to extend that coverage for one year beyond their renewal dates, or transition to a policy that is compliant with the law.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) today stated it would allow health plans to offer extensions, noting that carriers would have the ultimate decision.

“At BlueCross, we’ve always believed people should be able to choose the plan they think best meets their needs, so we support this decision to let individual members and small business customers keep their existing coverage,” said Bill Gracey, BlueCross CEO.

The Affordable Care Act mandates 2014 non-grandfathered individual and small group health plans provide 10 categories of essential health benefits, and meet certain other requirements. BlueCross individual policy holders and small group customers have been notified that they would be transitioned to new plans that comply with the 2014 ACA requirements. On Nov. 14, President Obama announced a plan to allow individuals and small groups with coverage in effect on Oct. 1, 2013 to extend that coverage. The president’s extension plan applies to coverage to be renewed between Jan. 1, 2014 and Oct. 1, 2014. Once renewed, the coverage will be in effect for one year.

Gracey said BlueCross will work closely with state regulators to update policies and review rates to keep these plans available to applicable existing members.

The company continues to hope technical issues with the Health Insurance Marketplace will be fixed quickly to allow consumers access to Marketplace policies and subsidies, if eligible, Gracey said.

BlueCross continues to offer current and future members an array of insurance options, providing marketplace plans in all 95 Tennessee counties – the only insurer in the state to do so.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.