NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — COVID-19 brought hardship to people throughout the country, but one upside to it was that it dropped the rate of Americans without health insurance by millions because of several federal initiatives.
“Congress took a step right at the beginning to make it possible for people who are on Medicaid to remain on the program, as long as there is a public health emergency,” said Tennessee Justice Center attorney, Gordon Bonnyman.
But soon, the federal public health emergency may end. It’s currently set to expire in October, unless congress votes to extend it—meaning hundreds of thousands in Tennessee are expected to lose healthcare.
“The state expects to reduce the number of people in the program by about 300,000 over 12 months,” Bonnyman said.
On Friday, TennCare, the Medicaid program in Tennessee, said that it’s planning on an Unwinding program, going from about 1.7 million in the program to about 1.4 million. The unwinding will happen in phases with one of them leaning on TennCare recipients getting letters in the mail—Phase 3.
There’s just one problem—the Tennessee Justice Center is currently leading a class-action lawsuit against TennCare. That lawsuit is centered around the center claiming that TennCare is sending mail to incorrect addresses or asking for unnecessary information.
“When people got requests from the state to determine if they’re still eligible, a lot of those were sent to the wrong addresses,” Bonnyman said. “People were cut off for not responding to packets that they never received.”
News 2 reached out to TennCare to ask a little bit more about the unwinding program and the lawsuit. They wanted to get two main points across if you’re on TennCare. First, make sure your address is up to date so they can send paperwork to the correct place— second, TennCare is encouraging people to sign up for an online account, so they can check some of their eligibility electronically.