In late May, a mother called TJC seeking Medicaid coverage for her teenage daughter. The whole family was eligible. They had applied three times. We started to dig, but were only able to track down remnants of one out of three applications. For two months, the mother and one of TJC’s client advocates made phone calls and sent letters to both TennCare and the Federal Marketplace. The family had outstanding medical bills incurred after their first two applications, and only getting coverage backdated would help with those debts.
Toward the end of July, the parents’ worst nightmare came true: their daughter was hospitalized for a serious, ongoing health problem. As the hospital put pressure on the parents to either pay or immediately find coverage for their daughter’s stay, priorities shifted. Getting coverage backdated to the earliest possible date was no longer at the top of the list. Instead, the daughter needed the fastest route to coverage.
With the permission of the parents, TJC staff attorneys and the client advocate reached out to the TennCare Office of the General Council. They presented strong evidence of the most recently completed application, and shared a bit of the daughter’s story. Within three days of changing strategies the entire family had coverage, and it was backdated to right before they had contacted TJC. Now, the daughter is able to regularly receive the services she desperately needs, and the course of her life has likely been improved forever.