What is TennCare?

Every state has a Medicaid program. In Tennessee, it’s called TennCare. TennCare provides health insurance to low-income individuals, mostly children and families with minor children. TennCare also pays for care in a nursing home for adults who qualify.

TennCare began in 1994. Tennessee was given a waiver by the federal government that let it insure more groups of people than are usually required. Most of these optional groups were cut from TennCare during the 2005 TennCare cuts.

Under federal law, TennCare must provide a comprehensive benefits package for eligible children. Learn more about benefits for children.

TennCare has many categories of eligibility, each of with different eligibility requirements.  In fact, there are currently over 40 different eligibility categories. Read more about which categories are open.. Remember – TennCare sometimes changes eligibility categories and requirements. If you’re not sure, it doesn’t hurt to go ahead and apply for TennCare.

How to Apply

If you think you might be eligible, apply through the Federal Marketplace at healthcare.gov.

There are a few categories of TennCare that do not go through the Marketplace:

  • To apply for CHOICES, the long-term services program, call your local Area Agency on Aging and Disability office.
  • To apply for Medicare Savings Programs, fill out this form and mail it in. Or, call Tennessee Health Connections at 1-855-259-0701 and ask them to send you an application.
  • To apply for the DIDD waiver, call your local DIDD office.
  • To apply for CoverKids, you can go on healthcare.gov, but it may be faster to apply directly at www.covertn.gov. (Note: CoverKids is not the same as TennCare, but it is a way for children with higher income to get insurance.)

There are many people who can help you apply. To find help applying go to getcoveredtenn.org, or take a look at this list of agencies that have people to help you apply for your coverage.

Help with TennCare

If you have already applied for TennCare, or already have TennCare, and are experiencing problems, here are some things that you can do: