State Leaders Discuss Insure Tennessee with Hamilton Co. Residents

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) – In a matter of weeks, there could be relief for low income individuals who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

It’s called Insure Tennessee.

Wendy Long, Chief of Staff and Deputy Director of TennCare, says, "The governor has to have approval of the general assembly in order to move forward with Insure Tennessee."

So, on February 2nd there will be a special session of the general assembly to take up the issue.

Long adds, "We believe that Insure Tennessee is important because we do have over 200,000 individuals who could gain healthcare insurance through Insure Tennessee."

State officials, like Long, say right now hospitals are taking a big financial hit because people are using their services and not paying a cent.

Insure Tennessee, could help with that problem.

Long adds, "Not to mention the fact that having insurance allows you to have the type of preventive care that keeps you out of the ER to begin with."

Rae Bond with the Chattanooga Hamilton County Medical Society agrees.

Bond says, "This is a really unique structure that actually moves more people into the traditional insurance market. So, we’re intrigued by anything that allows more people to have health coverage."

If approved, people would sign up at www.healthcare.gov.

The program would be completely federally funded through 2016.

After that, the Hospital Association would pick up ten percent.

That means it wouldn’t cost Tennessee taxpayers a dime.

If at any point the federal government or the Hospital Association doesn’t pay their portion of the money, then Insure Tennessee would end immediately.

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