TennCare seeks back payments

From Staff Reports

   TennCare is notifying members who are behind in their premium payments that they are losing their TennCare health insurance coverage. The state is sending letters to members who are behind in their payments, explaining that they have 32 days to appeal and set up a payment plan to avoid losing coverage.
   Members who are eligible for Medicaid do not pay premiums, but all other TennCare members whose income is above the federal poverty level are required to pay monthly premiums. One hundred (100) percent poverty is equal to a family of four living on about $16,500 a year.
   TennCare officials say the new measure is part of the bureau's effort to resume reverification of members who are on TennCare because they were uninsured or uninsurable -- roughly 670,000 TennCare members. Officials estimate that about 27,000 of these members are significantly behind in premium payments. Letters to these members were mailed earlier this week.
   "People who are not living in poverty are required to share the cost of TennCare coverage in order to participate in TennCare, and they must uphold their part of the agreement," said TennCare Director Mark Reynolds. "At the same time, we recognize the need to help members avoid financial hardships and will allow members to gradually pay off their overdue premiums if necessary."
   Members who are behind on premium payments but who cannot pay off their obligation immediately can arrange a plan to pay off the balance over a 10-month period, officials say. Members who have fallen behind on their payments but have not received premium notices from TennCare may need to update their address with the agency by calling 1-800-669-1851. Change of address forms are also available at www.state.tn.us/tenncare/adrescge.htm.