Every year millions of Tennesseans enroll in health insurance, while millions more go without health insurance due to the high cost of coverage. There is a nonprofit group who wants all Tennesseans to have access to quality healthcare, and they are passionate about helping those who need help navigating the often confusing health insurance landscape to find what they need and can afford.
That group is Get Covered Tennessee, a program operated by Nashville-based Family & Children’s Service (F&CS), in partnership with Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center, Appalachian Mountain Project Access, Cherokee Health Systems, and approximately 400 other partners across Tennessee. Launched in 2015, the network of navigator agencies and serves all 95 counties of the state.
The Open Enrollment period for health insurance sign ups is traditionally held each year from Nov. 1–Dec. 15; however, this year it has been extended through Jan. 15, 2022, in anticipation of increased need. Enrollment in health insurance can be stressful for many individuals and families as healthcare costs continue to rise; healthcare plans seem to change frequently; and the numerous products and programs can be confusing. Get Covered Tennessee has a team of Healthcare Access Navigators who are trained to help consumers review their health coverage options and complete eligibility and enrollment forms. These services are free, unbiased, and available to anyone who needs them.
“For many people, enrolling in healthcare can be intimidating and complicated,” said Michael McSurdy, president/CEO of Family & Children’s Service. “Our Get Covered Tennessee team exists to make that process easy, free, and accessible to everyone in Tennessee.”
While providing services to anyone that needs help, the Get Covered program team focuses on traditionally underserved populations, and this year there will be a focus on those that lost their insurance due to pandemic-related job loss.
“We can provide product information and enrollment assistance to anyone in Tennessee, regardless of where they live, by phone, video conference, or in person,” said Aram Khoshnaw, senior director, Healthcare Access Services, F&CS. “We want to meet them where they are and provide them the information they seek in the way that is most comfortable for them. That’s what we do.” GetCoveredTenn network partners provides language interpretation services and accommodation for people with disabilities to ensure everyone has access to these services.
Health insurance through <www.HealthCare.gov> is often more affordable than many people think. Of new enrollees, 44% obtained coverage for less than $10 per month, and 91% of new enrollees received financial help that lowered their monthly health insurance premiums during the special enrollment period early this year. The government has also boosted ACA subsidies, making even more individuals and families eligible for these discounts.
Over the last three years, GetCoveredTenn Healthcare Access Navigators have held 1,028 in-person and virtual events reaching more than 1.6 million consumers; provided one-to-one assistance to 18,641 consumers; and directly assisted 7,064 consumers. These efforts have reached an estimated 12.4 million people total over the last six years of the program, helping consumers to understand their health coverage options and make better-informed choices. The GetCoveredTenn network is composed entirely of nonprofit organizations that do not benefit in any way from providing these services to consumers, and the program is paid for by a grant from the federal government.
For more information about the federal insurance marketplace, the open enrollment period, or <www.GetCoveredTenn.org>, call 866-475-7879 or visit <www.getcoveredtenn.org>. For more information about Family & Children’s Service, visit <www.fcsnashville.org>.
Alternatively, consumers not needing assistance can enroll in insurance products through the <www.HealthCare.gov> federal insurance enrollment website.