What we're reading, August 24, 2016: Tennessee signed off on high premium hikes as its exchange is close to collapse; 5 states sue the Obama administration over a transgender healthcare policy; and a new non—travel-related Zika case is identified in Tampa Bay.
In a bid to keep the state’s Affordable Care Act insurance exchange afloat, Tennessee signed off on high premium hikes. The state’s insurance regulator said that approving the increases was necessary to ensure there would be options in every part of Tennessee when open enrollment begins, reported The Tennessean. Currently, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is the only insurer selling statewide, plus Cigna and Humana may reduce their involvement. UnitedHealthcare dropped of the state exchange earlier this year.
Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Texas, and Wisconsin are suing the Obama administration for a policy extending nondiscrimination laws to transgender individuals. According to Reuters, the states are suing on behalf of 3 medical organizations, 2 of which are affiliated with Christian groups, and arguing that the groups would be forced to violate their religious beliefs. HHS announced it would broaden its nondiscrimination law and require health insurers and medical providers treat transgender patients equal to all other patients.
As cases of non—travel-related Zika rise in the Miami area, a new case was identified in the Tampa Bay region. While the Tampa Bay case is the first in Florida outside of Miami, there isn’t enough evidence to declare a zone of local transmission in that area, according to AP. Currently, the Department of Health has only identified 2 areas of ongoing active transmission: Wynwood and Miami Beach.