Getting Free Medical Care in Tennessee: What You Need to Know

Tennessee is home to TennCare, the state's Medicaid program, which provides medical care to pregnant women, parents or caregivers of a child, children, and people who are elderly or have a disability. To qualify for TennCare, you must meet certain income and resource limits. If you don't qualify for TennCare, other health care options are available through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Tennessee CoverKids offers free, comprehensive health coverage for eligible children age 18 and younger and for pregnant women. It covers preventive health services, doctor visits, hospital visits, vaccines, follow-up visits for children, developmental evaluations, mental health services, and prenatal care for pregnant women.

Children also receive dental and vision care. The Tennessee Hospital Association, the Tennessee Medical Association and the Tennessee Business Roundtable all supported the Medicaid expansion proposal. However, conservative legislators were concerned about the long-term costs to the state or about the difficulties the state would face if it tried to repeal the Medicaid expansion within a few years. The expansion would provide comprehensive medical and health care coverage to the unemployed and contract workers, as well as to qualified low-income residents of Tennessee. Unfortunately, Tennessee has not expanded Medicaid coverage (which is called TennCare) as allowed by the Affordable Care Act. This means that an estimated 118,000 residents with a coverage gap in Tennessee are not eligible for Medicaid and are not eligible for premium subsidies in exchange.

During the comment period, advocates expressed concern that Tennessee might use exemption authority to reduce benefits for the state's most vulnerable residents (Tennessee has not expanded Medicaid, so all enrollees are low-income and are also pregnant, elderly, disabled, children, or parents of minor children with very low incomes).If you're looking for free medical care in Tennessee but don't qualify for TennCare or other health care options through the Health Insurance Marketplace, there are still some options available. You can apply for TennCare at any time. Additionally, there are several community health centers throughout the state that offer free or low-cost medical services. These centers provide primary care services such as physical exams, immunizations, screenings for chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, mental health services, and more. It's important to remember that even if you don't qualify for TennCare or other health care options through the Health Insurance Marketplace in Tennessee, there are still ways to get free medical care.

By taking advantage of community health centers and other resources available in your area, you can get the medical care you need without breaking the bank.

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