By MELANIE KILGORE-HILL
Concern Remains over TennCare Unenrollment
In April, Nashville Medical News covered a startling statistic regarding the number of children recently unenrolled from TennCare, the state's Medicaid program. Last month, The Tennessean also investigated why at least 220,000 Tennessee children were cut, or were expected to be cut, from the program.
"We've heard from TennCare that they believe the problem is fixed because the enrollment system is now online, but we've already been made aware of several issues that don't give us confidence that kids who are eligible will be reenrolled," said Kinika Young, director of Children's Health at the Tennessee Justice Center. "People are trying to get reenrolled, but it's causing a lot of headaches because they're calling to inquire of status and receiving conflicting information."
Young said one of the biggest problems she's now seeing is members of the same household not being linked online. That's causing concern, since eligibility is partially dependant on household size.
Katina Beard, MSPH, chief executive officer at Nashville's Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center, said staff are aware of the issue and being diligent to educate parents regarding the need for ongoing communication with TennCare. "We're telling parents this is something you have to be proactive about and work to make sure enrollment stays intact," she said. "If you move, you have to reach out and make sure all your information is up-to-date. The biggest issue we see is parents who aren't self-aware and really have a hard time with this."
Beard said they've seen denials for children who clearly meet eligibility requirements and work with the center's outreach and enrollment staff to pursue reenrollment. "This is almost like the flu epidemic where we encourage everyone to get a flu shot," Beard said. "This is an insurance epidemic, and everyone on all fronts need to be working together to make sure everyone who's supposed to be covered is covered."
The application for TennCare, CoverKids and Medicare Savings Programs is online at tenncareconnect.tn.gov.