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NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Primary Care Association (TPCA) applauds Congressional passage of the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (SCHIPRA 2009). The legislation will expand CoverKids, Tennessee’s children’s health insurance program, and enable health centers to improve and expand primary care services to children.
“On behalf of Tennessee’s Community Health Centers, we thank our leaders in Congress for responding directly to the health care needs of our children, “ said Kathy Wood-Dobbins, CEO of the Tennessee Primary Care Association. “The SCHIP reauthorization expands coverage for low-income and uninsured children in Tennessee. About 32,000 children are currently enrolled in the state’s CoverKids program. This bill will improve access to health care for the 125,000 children in Tennessee still without coverage. In these uncertain and very troubling times for our economy, keeping families and children healthy is the right medicine for our state.”
President Obama signed the legislation into law today. The bill passed the Senate last week by a bipartisan vote of 66 to 32, and cleared the House by a bipartisan vote of 289-139. “This bill creates a prospective payment system in SCHIP, the CoverKids program in Tennessee, similar to the system already in place under TennCare for services provided by federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics. This allows Tennessee’s Community Health Centers to provide and expand primary care services to more children while maintaining their high quality of care and financial stability,” said Wood-Dobbins.
The legislation also allows for funding of outreach efforts to enroll children who meet the requirements. “The Tennessee Primary Care Association’s members have already been actively enrolling eligible kids in the SCHIP/CoverKids program and will work in partnership with the state to ensure every eligible child whose health care home is a community health center is enrolled in CoverKids,” said Wood-Dobbins.
Tennessee’s Community Health Centers provide primary care services regardless of a patient’s ability to pay and are strategically located in areas where private medical care is scarce, nonexistent or not easily accessible, such as an urban community or a rural county. They have 140 sites providing primary health care services across the state. They have experienced a steady increase in their patient base, an average of about 10 percent each year. In 2007, Tennessee’s health centers served over 285,000 people, 94 percent of them living below 200% of the poverty level and nearly 40 percent of them uninsured.
NASHVILLE - Governor Phil Bredesen announced today CoverKids, Tennessee's health insurance program for uninsured children, is providing dental benefits to program members and giving families an easier way to enroll with an online application.
"The dental benefit is an important addition to CoverKids' preventative health services," Bredesen said. "It makes CoverKids even more beneficial for the families who rely on the program and the online application should help even more families enroll in the program."
Bredesen announced the changes during a CoverKids enrollment event at Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center in Memphis.
CoverKids' dental services include the following benefits:
● Oral exams and cleanings, up to twice a year, with no copays;
● X-rays, up to twice a year for bitewing, and full mouth, once every three years, with no copays;
● Routine fillings and stainless steel crowns, up to a $15 copay, depending on income; and
● Emergency services, four visits in a calendar year, up to a $15 copay for each visit, depending on income.
There are no deductibles for any dental services and CoverKids' annual maximum for dental benefits is $600 per child per year.
CoverKids' members automatically receive the dental benefit, which is available to all new members joining the program.
CoverKids began offering members vision benefits in January 2008, in its first expansion of benefits to members. The vision benefit covers annual vision exams, glaucoma testing, eyeglass lenses or contact lenses once every 12 months and routine replacement of eyeglass frames once every 24 months.
Parents interested in signing their children up for CoverKids through the program's online application, can go to www.CoverTN.gov and click the CoverKids Apply Now button.
Doral Dental of Tennessee is the administrator of the CoverKids dental benefit. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee administers CoverKids' medical and vision benefits.
CoverKids currently has 24,916 members in the program.
CoverKids is part of Cover Tennessee, Bredesen's multi-pronged effort to extend health insurance to Tennessee's uninsured.
Cover Tennessee's other programs are: CoverTN, affordable, basic health insurance small businesses, individuals and the self-employed; AccessTN, comprehensive health insurance for Tennesseans with uninsurable or chronic health care conditions; and CoverRx, a pharmacy assistance program providing uninsured Tennesseans access to affordable prescriptions.
For more information on any of the Cover Tennessee programs, visit www.CoverTN.gov or call 1-866-COVERTN.
NASHVILLE - Every child attending a Tennessee public school will take home a CoverKids informational flyer this year in a statewide enrollment campaign to get health insurance coverage to Tennessee’s uninsured children.
”Providing children with quality health coverage is one of the best investments we can make in their future,” said Gov. Phil Bredesen. ”I encourage every parent to look for the CoverKids information in their child’s back-to-school packet and to take the necessary steps to enroll any child who doesn’t have health insurance.”
Working with the Department of Education, CoverKids is coordinating the delivery and distribution of 1.5 million informational flyers to Tennessee’s public school children. The flyers provide detailed instructions for parents on how to enroll their children in CoverKids. The flyer also includes a self-addressed, postage-paid card so parents can request an application in the mail or have a CoverKids representative call them about enrolling.
“We received more than 13,600 CoverKids applications as a result of our back-to-school efforts last year,” said. Dr. Andrea D. Willis, CoverKids director. “We’re working very hard this year to reach every child who could possibly benefit from the CoverKids program because as we all know, a healthy child is more likely to learn and more likely to stay in school.”
The CoverKids flyers will be delivered to public schools, beginning July 21, for insertion in each child’s back-to-school packet. A family of four earning $53,000 a year or less may qualify for CoverKids. Once enrolled, these families pay no monthly premiums for their children’s coverage. Doctor visits range from $5 to $15, generic medications cost as little as $5 and there are no co-pays for immunizations, routine well-exams, labs or x-rays. Families above the household income limit can pay $225 a month for each child they want to enroll in CoverKids.
CoverKids insurance does not have deductibles. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee administers the CoverKids program. CoverKids currently has 24,176 members in the program. CoverKids is part of Cover Tennessee, Bredesen’s multi-pronged effort to extend health insurance to Tennessee’s uninsured.Cover Tennessee’s other programs are: CoverTN, affordable, basic health insurance to small businesses, individuals and the self-employed; AccessTN, comprehensive health insurance for Tennesseans with uninsurable or chronic health care conditions; and CoverRx, a pharmacy assistance program providing uninsured Tennesseans access to affordable prescriptions.