CoverTN Opens New Eligibility Category in Program Expansion

Friday, September 12, 2008 | 7:00am

NASHVILLE — Governor Phil Bredesen announced today that CoverTN, Tennessee’s health insurance program for small businesses, individuals and the self-employed, will now offer health insurance to Tennesseans who are between jobs. The new eligibility category was proposed by Bredesen earlier this year and passed by the General Assembly in May.

“CoverTN is helping thousands of working Tennessean access basic health insurance, in many cases for the first time,” Bredesen said. “Because of the uncertainty of the national economy, it’s only right that we step in and help Tennesseans who are between jobs so they can have an important health benefit while they look for employment.”
 
The new CoverTN category, Tennesseans Between Jobs, provides health insurance coverage to individuals who have worked at least one 20 hour week in the last six months and earned $43,000 or less in income annually. The category also is open to individuals who have had their work hours reduced to below 20 per week in the last six months.
 
Additionally, individuals eligible to participate in the new CoverTN category must be able to pay their two-thirds share of the monthly premium, about $95 a month for an adult who is between 30 and 39 years old, at target weight and does not use tobacco. The State will pay the remaining one-third share of the monthly premium.
 
Individuals may begin applying for CoverTN in the new Tennesseans Between Jobs category immediately.
 
CoverTN’s current eligibility categories include:   
·   Employers with 50 or fewer full-time workers, where half of the employees earn $43,000 or less annually;
·   Employees working at least 20 hours per week at CoverTN-participating businesses with 50 and fewer workers;
·   Employees at companies that do not offer employer-sponsored health insurance, or CoverTN, and who earn $43,000 or less annually; and
·   Self-employed individuals who work at least 20 hours-per-week and earn $43,000 or less annually in adjusted gross income.
 
Once enrolled in CoverTN, individuals can remain in the program as long as they can pay their share of the monthly premium, regardless of the eligibility category.
 
In other program changes, CoverTN will now count the hours from each job an individual works to determine if the applicant meets the 20 hour-per-week requirement needed to enroll in the program. Previously, CoverTN counted only the hours from an individual’s primary job. Also, CoverTN will use adjusted gross income, instead of gross income, in determining eligibility of self-employed individuals.
 
CoverTN currently has 15,383 members in the program with 6,379 participating small businesses.
 
CoverTN is part of Cover Tennessee, Bredesen’s multi-pronged effort to extend health insurance to Tennessee’s uninsured. Cover Tennessee’s other programs are: CoverKids, comprehensive health insurance for qualifying children 18 years-old and under; AccessTN, comprehensive health insurance for Tennesseans with uninsurable or catastrophic health care conditions; and CoverRx, a pharmacy assistance program providing uninsured Tennesseans access to affordable prescriptions. 
 
For more information on any of the Cover Tennessee programs, visit www.CoverTN.gov or call 1-866-COVERTN.
 
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