Of the COVID-19 public health crisis declaration that extended the duration of Medicaid coverage for most Americans, resulting in a 26.3% increase in enrollment in the program from February 2020 to July 2022. Most this increase is due to continued PHE enrollment, which prevents states from conducting eligibility checks and disqualifying people. The PHE deadline was pushed back to March. After that, states must restart verification of Medicaid eligibility. There are over 15 million people in the entire US and 300,000 people up TennCare are expected to lose Medicaid coverage.
After PHE, Tennessee, like all states, must conduct health checks for more than 1.5 million people every 12 months. A lot TennCare Enrollees may no longer be eligible due to changes in income or age. However, data indicates that more than one-third of those who have been dismissed will still be eligible. They may have moved before receiving the documents or missed the response window. While Tennessee has many plans to address this, the complexity of this task is compounded by the uncertainty of PHE’s expiration date.
For them no longer eligible for TennCare, time is important in switching to other types of insurance. Most will have 60 days after their TennCare coverage expires to enroll in coverage offered by their employer or the federal government. Health Insurance Market. But few will do so. Studies have shown that more than 65% of seniors disenrolled from Medicaid remain uninsured 90 days later.
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As a medical student involved in our student-run clinic that sees more than 300 uninsured patients each year, I have witnessed many patients go through the TennCare application, confirmation and appeal process. To get the perspective of someone who helps Tennesseans with these forms and applications every day, I interviewed Emilie Fauchet, assistant director at Healthcare Access Services at Family & Children Services.
“A lot of times people don’t know they don’t have insurance until they go to a company. It is a very important point for people to know that they have lost their insurance and direct them to resources instead of just sending them home,” said Fauchet. Making connections now between those who often interact with patients and those who can help manage the process will be very important.
While there are people like Fauchet to help with these changes, we all have a role to play in promoting and helping people stay insured.
Hospitals, doctor’s offices and community-based clinics may conduct outreach programs in the coming months. This outreach can be as simple as posting flyers in waiting rooms, giving patients a QR code on the TennCare website to update their contact information, or staff reminding people. patients about the need to prove their eligibility.
Business associations can place signs on buses, billboards and restrooms with links to insurance information and enrollment sites. Private organizations can partner with county health departments to host public events and support enrollment.
With cooperation across the board, Tennesseans have the power to collectively promote continued coverage for our neighbors.
Kayla Buttafuoco is a third year medical student in Tennessee.