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Chelsea Anders

For her perseverance and braveness in the face of adversity, Tennessee Justice Center honors Ms. Chelsea Anders as a 2020 Mother of the Year.

In 2010, Ms. Anders had to undergo surgery in order to treat a mass on her brain; the mass caused her to begin having seizures. She went through multiple surgeries which left her unsure if she would ever be able to have a baby. Miraculously, Ms. Anders learned she was pregnant in 2017, and her daughter, Skai was born. Skai was born with spina bifida which requires significant medical care. Because Ms. Anders was on TennCare when her daughter was born, her daughter was automatically enrolled onto TennCare and immediately began to receive the medical care she needs. Skai endured more than seven surgeries over the course of her first year of life as well as numerous medical tests and constant medication adjustments.

In the summer of 2019, as Ms. Anders prepared to bring her daughter to one of her scheduled appointments, the provider cancelled the appointment because their system showed that Skai appeared to have lost her TennCare coverage. Ms. Anders was shocked—she had no idea that her daughter had been terminated from TennCare. She immediately contacted TennCare, trying to understand what happened and filing an appeal. Ms. Anders was confused because the only reason why she herself was able to have TennCare was because of her daughter. Unfortunately, because of a timing issue, TennCare did not provide her daughter a continuation of benefits during the appeal, so her daughter lost her coverage.

Ms. Anders attempted to resolve the issue on her own while trying to provide the best care for her daughter that she could. Ms. Anders even reached out to her local county health department for help, but they were not able to fix TennCare’s error. She then got in touch with TJC and after several letters in support of the appeal were sent to the TennCare appeals unit, TJC and Ms. Anders were finally able to get her daughter reenrolled—and with backdated coverage! Ms. Anders continues to advocate for children like hers who have been wrongfully disenrolled from TennCare, and who have become uninsured and forced to go without the healthcare they need.

Photo Credit: Demetria Kalodimos

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