JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The auto-enrollment protections that were in place throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic for TennCare eligibility have ended.
Since 2020, TennCare recipients have not had to reenroll for benefits. In December of 2022, Congress set April 1, 2023 as the end of the continuous enrollment requirement, and the beginning of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) renewals.
TennCare is reviewing every member’s eligibility over a twelve-month period.
Using available data sources, TennCare can auto-renew a person’s coverage. If they cannot auto-renew based on the information they have, recipients will receive a letter in the mail.
Appalachian Mountain Project Access is a nonprofit organization that is helping people with the TennCare renewal process.
“What we’re doing is helping people either submit documentation once they do get their letter, notifying them that they’d have to reenroll, helping them find alternative health care if they are no longer eligible for TennCare, or basically helping them reenroll if they do get declined, but they are still eligible for TennCare options,” said Chelsea Lyons, Health Insurance Marketplace Navigation Team Lead at Project Access.
Information for renewal can be submitted online and is the preferred method, Lyons said. Project Access tells recipients to keep an eye out for any TennCare mail.
“If you see anything that says the ‘Tennessee Department of Health’ or that it’s from the Tennessee government, just go ahead and be safe and open it just to make sure that you don’t lose that eligibility,” said Lyons. “Because if you end up throwing that packet away or not receiving it at all, then you may lose your eligibility even though you still qualify for care.”
“If you’re not sure what to do with that packet, just give us a call. We’ll be more than happy to help,” she said.
In most cases, if recipients no longer qualify for TennCare, their information is sent to a federal healthcare marketplace.
“Most people who do qualify for TennCare fall in between the financial guidelines to receive the earned income tax credit on HealthCare.gov.,” said Lyons. “So, their health insurance would be either low or no costs. Sometimes there are premiums on there as low as zero dollars.”
Lyons believes it is important to have healthcare insurance as a safety net.
“You can kind of be more in control of your own healthcare and access preventative care,” said Lyons. “If something does happen down the road, you know about it in advance. It would be better to use preventative care and catch something early than end up in the emergency room without any health insurance or any way to pay for a specialist if you needed it.”
Lyons encourages TennCare members to have an open conversation with their healthcare provider about renewals.
Members should make sure their address is up to date on TennCare’s website, and they can do that and find more information about renewals here.