Thousands of kids were erased from the CoverKids and TennCare programs since 2017.
About 128,000 children were purged from the CoverKids and TennCare Tennessee children’s health insurance plans over a period of two years.
Unless they took their kids to the doctor’s office and were refused, parents had no idea it happened.
TennCare and CoverKids are two government sponsored Tennessee children’s health insurance programs for low-income families. As over 100 thousand kids in the state were not covered by private insurance, the number of uninsured residents of Tennessee ballooned in recent years. This isn’t good news for a state that is already ranked among the unhealthiest in the country.
According to state officials, they have been forced to make steep cuts to TennCare and CoverKids. Part of this has been to slash enrollment, after the programs have been allowed to continue expanding over many years. As a result approximately 128,000 kids were taken out of the programs through new regulations in qualification or because the families themselves didn’t keep up with the requirements.
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The Tennessee children’s health insurance programs made two major types of cuts in the past 2 years.
The first reason children were dropped from this health plan was because they no longer qualified for coverage. The regulations for enrollment were tightened and many children no longer qualified to continue their coverage under TennCare or CoverKids.
Alternately, the programs also cut many kids from their coverage because their families had not responded to the mandatory renewal forms. Those forms were mailed out over the last three years. According to TennCare officials, “many members” had their enrollment removed because those families did not complete their renewal forms and didn’t submit them. That said, due to the lack of paperwork, they could not provide an estimate as to exactly how many families were cut for that reason.
According to a Tennessean report, the uncertainty regarding whether Tennessee children’s health insurance is in place is causing considerable struggles for low-income families. Health care providers have said that some kids have lost their coverage without the parents’ knowledge. Those parents don’t find out until they reach the doctor’s office. Doctors and social justice advocates have pointed to deep-rooted procedural errors in TennCare as the cause of this widespread disenrollment.