Healthcare has been such a hot topic over the past few years, it is difficult to distinguish fact from rhetoric. There are about as many views as to what systems, policies, and practices are best for individuals with disabilities as there are people. Regardless on where you stand on politics and issues, we can all agree on one thing: everybody needs healthcare. Having choices and access to them is vital in maintaining one’s independence. However, exploring one’s options, or existing insurance status, and understanding how proposed legislation may impact your current or potential healthcare coverage can be challenging. Because each person’s needs are unique, we want you to be as educated and aware as possible on the facts so that you may make an informed decision for you and your family members. Thanks to our community partners at the Tennessee Health Care Campaign (THCC) and Family Voices of the Tennessee Disability Coalition for their guidance and assistance, we would like to direct you to some resources we hope will help clear the mud on all the talk around healthcare.
Enrollment In the ACA Marketplace
If you are not currently covered by Medicare, TennCare or insurance from your employment you can enroll through the ACA Marketplace (www.healthcare.gov) The open enrollment deadline on the ACA individual marketplace is December 15, 2018. Although there are proposed mandate changes, the law currently states that every person must have some type of coverage. You can sign up on www.healthcare.gov or call a THCC trained Navigator at 844-644-5443. THCC has Mid TN walk-in locations for in-person help as well as information on state & federal health care policies and health care reform. They will also continue advocacy efforts and assisting eligible Tennesseans enroll in TennCare in 2018. The link below will tell you where the walk-in locations are.
Medicaid in Tennessee is known as TennCare and the TennCare website is full of useful info and can be found at www.tn.gov/tenncare. For questions about applying for TennCare, you may call 1-855-259-0701. The main Line (For those already enrolled) is 1-800-342-3145. TennCare also has programs designed to provide additional supports for people with disabilities who need help in their homes and accessing the community as well as employment.
If you need any help with TennCare, you can call the Family Assistance Service Center for free. Their number is 1-866-311-4287. You are also always welcome to visit your local DHS office for in-person assistance.
TN Justice Center
TJC helps Tennesseans access medical coverage and medical services year-round. They have an Independence Program which specifically assists seniors and people with disabilities apply for medical benefits, SNAP, and other financial or long-term resources. For the Independence Program, contact Jana Hall at 615-255-0331. For all other inquiries, you may call them toll-free at 1-877-608-1009
Family Voices of TN/ TN Disability Coalition
Family Voices is operated by and for families in TN to assist families to navigate public and private health systems and insurance plans, including TennCare as well as commercial plans. They also strive to educate families about how to access services and resources for their children and how to work and communicate effectively with health providers. Most importantly, they listen to families as they describe their encounter health systems and help guide them to possible solutions. Family Voices works with families, health care providers, public and private agencies, as well as advocacy and support groups to promote family-centered care and medical homes for children with special health care needs. Finally, they work to promote discussion and linkages among families, providers, managed care programs, and government to better serve the health care and related needs of children. You can reach them at 615-383-9442 or online at www.tndisability.org
Proposed House and Senate bills on taxes could potentially impact access to health care. This is especially true for people with disabilities who tend to be the ones who most heavily rely on some of the benefits and incentives which may get cut. Here is one view on the possible negative effects:
Southeast ADA Center
This is a great resource for all things related to Americans with disabilities who live or work in this region of the U.S. You may find loads of info and get updates on legislation at http://www.adasoutheast.org/ or call 1-800-949-4232 with your questions.