TennCare Coverage Available For 2,500 People 2-11-2011 - WSMV Channel 4

TennCare Coverage Available For 2,500 People 2-11-2011

Reported By Nancy Amons
NASHVILLE, Tenn.
If you've ever been in the hospital, you know the bills can bankrupt you. Just ask Leona Scott of Nashville.

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"I was diagnosed with stage four advanced breast cancer," Scott told Channel 4.
Her job in the ministry didn't provide insurance, and her cancer treatments cost $4,000 per week.
"Educational funds, retirement 401k, it's all wiped out," Scott said.
Now TennCare is offering 2,500 people like Leona a chance to get one year of TennCare coverage, if they qualify.
It's called "Standard Spend Down." People may be able to get coverage if they either have a very low income, or they have a higher income but have high, unpaid medical bills and are over 65 years old, or blind, or handicapped. They would also qualify if they are a caregiver relative of a Medicaid-eligible child.
Here's an example of how the spend-down works: if you're a family of four, your household income must be less than $325 per month. But that's $325 a month after medical bills are subtracted.
The program is limited to the first 2,500 people who call on Feb. 22 starting at 6 p.m.
"The phone lines open at 6. They close at 8:30. If 2,500 calls have not been reached by that time, it will open up again, but the last time we opened up the phone lines in October, the call center shut down in a little over an hour," said Kelly Gunderson, TennCare's spokeswoman.
The program is being paid for out of hospital fees. Ultimately, up to 7,000 people will be enrolled, but TennCare is phasing them in so they don't have to process all the paperwork at the same time.
The number to call is 866-358-3230. Calls can only be made Feb. 22, starting at 6 p.m.
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