Cover Tennessee Launches Faith-Based Initiative

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | 10:04am
MEMPHIS – Cover Tennessee kicked off a new faith-based outreach initiative Tuesday in Memphis with members of the Memphis Baptist Ministerial Association. More than 125 ministers from the Memphis area attended an information session about the state’s health care program for the uninsured.
 
The event, which was hosted by Greater Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, marked the first of many across the state where faith leaders will have the opportunity to learn more about all Cover Tennessee programs and engage in an open dialogue about providing for the health needs of the uninsured.
 
With a special focus on CoverTN, which is designed for the employees of small businesses and non-profits, the event offered specific information on how the limited benefit program can benefit churches and other faith-related organizations.
 
“CoverTN does exactly what it needs to do. With the plan, Tennesseans are able to get quality, preventive care or get proper treatment if they are sick,” said Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton, who also spoke at the event. “This program is an invaluable resource for the uninsured and a great move by the state to address their needs.”
 
Since its inception, CoverTN has provided an affordable health care option for Tennessee’s small business community, which includes churches. Because many churches employ only a small number of support staff, it’s not uncommon for health insurance not to be offered as an employee benefit.
 
With recent improvements to the program’s benefit plan, the timing is perfect for CoverTN to reach out to the faith community. Beginning Jan. 1, 2009, CoverTN will double the number of yearly primary care visits to 12, in addition to the availability of five or six specialist visits, depending on the member’s benefit plan.
 
More importantly, members will see no premium rate increase for 2009, which helps ease the financial burden in an otherwise worrisome financial climate.
 
“Tennessee is offering a great opportunity for small employers, including churches, to provide health benefits to full- and part-time workers,” said Pastor Leonard Dawson, president of the Association. “We’re happy to partner with the state to ensure our members and the wider faith community knows about CoverTN.”
 
CoverTN currently has 17,144 members in the program with 6,583 participating employers.
 
CoverTN is a program of Cover Tennessee, Governor Phil Bredesen’s multi-pronged effort to extend health insurance to Tennessee’s uninsured. Cover Tennessee’s other programs include CoverKids, comprehensive health insurance for qualifying children 18-years-old and younger; CoverRx, a pharmacy assistance program providing uninsured Tennesseans access to affordable prescriptions; and AccessTN, comprehensive health insurance for Tennesseans who are uninsurable due to pre-existing medical conditions.
 
For more information about any of the Cover Tennessee programs, visit www.CoverTN.gov or call 1-866-COVERTN.
 
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