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Learn About CHIP in Tennessee

Tennessee CHIP is referred to throughout the state as the CoverKids Program. It provides health, dental and vision insurance options to children under 19 years of age who live in low-income households. The program also assists pregnant women living in the state who meet the required eligibility guidelines. This coverage is crucial to low-income households because it allows them to provide their children with adequate medical care without facing the exorbitant expenses that go along with it. The free coverage provided by CHIP insurance helps these families to address health issues or ensure their children are growing properly without going into medical debt.

Federally referred to as the Children’s Health Insurance Program, CoverKids is administered by the Department of Health, a division of TennCare, which is the state’s Medicaid program. To apply for coverage through the program, an applicant cannot be eligible for TennCare or other types of insurance coverage. Since CHIP and Medicaid have similar benefits, an applicant can only have one type of this free insurance coverage. Other eligibility guidelines must be met for an applicant to qualify for this program. To find out more about CoverKids, including the application process and benefits available, applicants can read through the following information.

What is CHIP in Tennessee?

The Tennessee health insurance for kids plan, called CoverKids, is designed to assist low-income families in providing adequate preventive and necessary care for their children without paying the monthly premiums that private insurance companies charge. The program allows for higher income limits for applicants. Therefore, families that earn too much income to qualify for TennCare but not enough income to afford private health coverage can turn to CoverKids to insure their children.

Low-income residents wondering “What is CHIP in TN and how can it help my family?” should be aware that most preventive treatments, such as wellness exams, are free for children who are enrolled in the program. However, other services may require co-payments. The program keeps these co-payments affordable so families can easily pay them without going into debt, even if medical care is needed unexpectedly.

Who does Tennessee CHIP cover?

A resident should complete a TN CHIP application if he or she feels all eligibility guidelines are met and health insurance coverage is needed. However, there is strict criteria that must be adhered to for an applicant to be approved for program benefits. Since the program is federally funded, the department sets these qualifications for coverage to ensure the funds are only allotted to residents who truly need this financial assistance with medical coverage.

To meet the CHIP eligibility guidelines, an applicant must thoroughly complete the application process and provide all necessary documents to the department. To qualify, he or she must:

  • Be under the age of 19 when submitting the application.
  • Be a Tennessee resident.
  • Not be eligible for TennCare.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or qualified legal alien.
  • Not have health insurance coverage with another provider.
  • Meet the low-income guidelines, which depend on the size of the household.

CHIP benefits in Tennessee may also be provided to pregnant women if they meet the specific eligibility guidelines outlined by the program. The low-income requirements are based on the government’s Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which can change each year. To find out more about the program, applicants can download our comprehensive guide.

How to Apply for CHIP in Tennessee

To apply for the child health insurance plan in Tennessee, the applicant’s parent or guardian can complete the process for him or her. A child who is younger than 19 years of age can apply either online or by phone. The parent or guardian who is completing the process for the child must be prepared with several pieces of information before calling or applying for CHIP online through the government website. The information that may be asked includes the following:

  • Social Security Numbers (SSNs)
  • Income earned
  • Number of household members and their information
  • Current health insurance coverage
  • Residency and citizenship status

When applying for the CoverKids program by phone, a representative can assist with determining eligibility. If the applicant does not qualify for benefits, the representative may be able to suggest other health coverage assistance programs, such as TennCare.

Pregnant women applying for CHIP benefits in TN have different applications and processes they can follow to apply for the program. These applicants can apply online, by phone, in person, by fax or by mail. An application can be found online, printed and completed to apply by mail or fax. To apply for the program in person, a potential applicant must visit a local department office, which are located throughout the state.

What is included with Tennessee CHIP coverage?

Tennessee CHIP coverage is expansive and includes preventive and necessary medical services and treatments. Most of these services are free, but sometimes, beneficiaries are responsible for paying small copayments to receive certain treatments. CHIP dental insurance is also offered through the program, in addition to vision coverage. Some of the common services that most beneficiaries use this free insurance for include:

  • Vaccinations.
  • Doctor’s wellness checkups.
  • Hospital stays.
  • Mental health services.
  • Physical therapy.

The goal of the TN CHIP program is for families to be able to seek treatment for medical, dental or vision services for children without paying for them. Therefore, most necessary services and treatments are free or provided for low-cost copayments. Program enrollees can review covered services with program representatives or online.

How much is CHIP health insurance in Tennessee?

Once you have learned how to apply for CHIP in Tennessee and you are approved for enrollment in the program, you can learn more about covered services. As a new program beneficiary, you are provided with more information about participating medical providers and the co-payments that are due for specific services.

While no monthly premiums are charged through the CHIP insurance program, the copayments you are responsible for can vary, depending on your benefit level and the type of treatment that is sought. To find out more about potential payments, download our informative and detailed guide.

How long do CHIP benefits last in Tennessee?

The Tennessee Children’s Health Insurance Program provides coverage to an eligible applicant for one year. At the end of the first year, the department re-analyzes the beneficiary’s qualifications. If he or she still qualifies for insurance through the program, another year of benefits is provided. However, a child may no longer qualify for benefits if he or she:

  • Is over 19 years of age.
  • Lives in a household that now earns too much income.
  • Obtains other health insurance coverage.

If it is determined that a child or pregnant woman no longer qualifies for CHIP in TN, the denied applicant can look for other insurance options, such Medicaid coverage options or private insurers.