Vanderbilt Doctors Off Health Care Exchange

Posted at 10:08 PM, Nov 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-01 23:17:44-04

As open enrollment begins under the Affordable Care Act, it's a new year for health care.

And it's joyous for some, like those who met with Mayor Megan Barry Tuesday and remarked on the 20 million more people covered by health insurance than pre-ACA.

"Happy enrollment day!" they cheered.

But it's stressful for others.

"I am now between a rock and a hard place," said Matthew Taber, who owns his own company in the health care field.

Since Blue Cross Blue Shield dropped out of the Nashville market, thousands of people like self-employed Taber are finding that keeping their doctor may be harder than they thought.

"I really don't want to switch (doctors)," he said, "I've gotten used to Vanderbilt." Plus he says he likes his current plan.

But Blue Cross was the insurance that carried the most well-known hospital in town.

And Taber said being in the industry and understanding how to navigate did not prepare him for this:

"It said my internist isn't listed, it said my hospital isn't listed and I said 'okay something is up,'" he said.

NewsChannel 5 asked Vanderbilt if the hospital is in talks with Cigna or Humana, the two insurers left on the exchange.

In a statement spokesperson John Howser said  "So far, we have only heard from a handful of current patients seeking new plan options for next year. For 2017, we will be participating in off-exchange plans that are offered through Aetna and Farm Bureau of Tennessee. If opportunities become available to expand our participation through the exchange for 2017 we will consider them."

St. Thomas originally wasn't on the exchange either. But last week that changed. The hospital struck a deal with Cigna, so it is now included.

"Cigna and St. Thomas Health did a great thing on Friday," Mayor Barry exclaimed Tuesday, "I heard the story about a young woman who said 'I am covered until December 31 but my baby is due January 15. I'm thinking about going in and being induced so I'm covered.' Well now she doesn’t have to!"

Taber hopes something similar happens with Vanderbilt. Because for now he's at a loss.

"I don't know what I'm going to do at this point, I'm going to have to keep searching," he said, noting he might look into the Vanderbilt options off the exchange.

To view options on the exchange, visit