TENNCARE RENEWALS ARE HERE!
Throughout 2023 and much of 2024, the state will decide whether each of the 1,750,000 Tennesseans who rely on TennCare for health care will be allowed to keep their coverage. The state expects to terminate the coverage of a half million people by mid-2025. We know from past experience that most people who lose coverage get cut off because of mistakes or difficulty completing the complicated paperwork, not because they are actually ineligible. TJC is working with partners across the state to protect the health coverage of Tennesseans as they go through this process.
WHY SO MUCH CONCERN?
There is great concern that millions of people across the country, including hundreds of thousands of children and adults in Tennessee, will lose their coverage, even though they continue to be eligible. Many have moved during the past three years and won’t receive notices telling them to provide information. TennCare’s computer system has had glitches that have mistakenly cut some people off. Paperwork can get lost. The process is complicated, and even minor human errors can cost families their coverage.
The danger of loss of coverage is especially great in Tennessee, because we are one of only ten states that still refuse to expand Medicaid. Our state government denies coverage to an estimated 300,000 working Tennesseans in low-income families who qualify under the Affordable Care Act.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
Federal and state law require that each person receiving Medicaid (called “TennCare” in Tennessee) show each year that they are still eligible for the coverage. The annual review process is called “renewal” or “redetermination” of eligibility. In March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the federal government declared a public health emergency (PHE). Congress passed a law that paused the renewal process so that people could be assured of keeping their Medicaid coverage until the PHE ended. The PHE ended April 1, 2023, and states were required to renew (or “redetermine”) the eligibility of everyone receiving Medicaid. TennCare expects to review everyone by April 2024, and by mid-2025 to have reduced the number of people with TennCare back to pre-pandemic levels.
THE STAKES ARE HUGE.
Over half of Tennessee’s children, including most children with special health care needs, rely on TennCare to get medical and mental health care. Over half of expectant mothers rely on TennCare for vital prenatal, delivery and post partum care, and care for their newborns. TennCare covers nearly two-thirds of nursing home and in-home care for older adults. TennCare is the principal source of health care for Tennesseans of all ages who have serious disabilities. The program is a vital source of coverage for addiction treatment. TennCare is the foremost source of funding for rural health services. Loss of coverage can mean a devastating interruption in access to essential care, medical bankruptcy for entire families and loss of funding for safety net providers.
IT'S "ALL HANDS ON DECK!" TJC IS HERE TO HELP.
TJC is a source of information, expertise and support for families and organizations across Tennessee who are dealing with TennCare renewals for themselves or others. If you or someone you know needs help with completing the renewal please fill our case inquiry form here. Several trainings are already available for streaming online. We will continue to provide trainings, updates and regular conference calls to share information and keep people informed of the latest developments and helpful tips.
Please sign up to get our communications that will enable you to stay up to date. Let us know if you or your organization would like our help in assisting families to navigate this challenging process. And volunteers are always welcome!