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VOL. 37 | NO. 9 | Friday, March 01, 2013

Feds responsible for health care exchange in Tennessee

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NASHVILLE (AP) - In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam has decided the state will not to create its own health care exchange, leaving both the exchange's operation and its marketing to the federal government.

TennCare Bureau spokeswoman Kelly Gunderson said that means it will be up to federal officials to make sure non-English speakers are aware of the program and explain the details to them.

According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data, Tennessee has approximately 148,000 residents over 5 years old who speak English "less than very well." Sixty-five percent of them are Spanish speakers.

The remaining 35 percent is divided among many different language groups, each comprising less than 5 percent of the state's non-English-speaking population. Chinese speakers comprise 4 percent. Speakers of Korean, Vietnamese, Arabic, Laotian and French each comprise less than 3 percent.

Other language groups have even fewer Tennessee residents who do not speak English fluently.