02 May, 2006

TennCare Again

Glen writes about TennCare today, and expresses the feelings of a lot of working men and women. He writes:
I was brought up to believe that you are owed nothing in this world. Let me repeat, nobody owes you anything. Society owes you nothing. If you make bad decisions, you live with the consequences of those decisions.

I think that's a fair point, especially when raised by one of the many underpaid and overworked Tennesseans who partially fund the TennCare program.

Here's where I personally stand. I have health insurance through my husband's work. I'm waiting for a check to come in from a freelance job. As soon as that (substantial) check gets here, I've got to turn the whole thing over to Summit Medical Center to pay for my last kidney stone. It represents 80 hours of work for me. And it's all spent before it gets here.

There are many other folks in my business who get paid under the table. They earn amounts as substantial as mine, but don't declare it as income. So they're on TennCare. And if they get a kidney stone they pay nothing, because Glen and you and I are paying it for them.

I've met people on TennCare who have the most expensive Cable TV package offered by Comcast, clocking in at nearly $100 bucks a month. More than 2/3rds of the TennCare recipients I know have a cell phone. I've dined in restaurants with TennCare recipients.

What's my point? My point is that for every person who truly needs TennCare and whose TennCare I don't begrudge, there seems to be at least one person on TennCare who is working the system, being dishonest and taking advantage. If you have TennCare and Comcast Digital Cable, perhaps you could have your cable shut off and use that cash to pay a health care premium. Seems reasonable, since those of us who are paying for our insurance are making sacrifices to pay our premiums.


At 3:26 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Short and Fat said...

I'll have to agree with you on this Kat. An aquaintance of mine has a 4000 square foot house in Mt. Juliet in a community I feel too poor to even drive by.

He got drunk one night and tore his ACL horsing around. Somehow he'd worked his taxes so that he was on TennCare. So, you and I paid for his knee operation and rehab.

At 8:43 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Malia said...

Several years ago when we moved to TN and I found full-time employment, I was denied health insurance through the company that I worked for. This was pre-HIPAA days when you had to qualify for company provided health insurance. So I had two options, buy my own health insurance or go on TennCare. I didn't really want to go on TennCare but the private health insurance option wasn't really an option for our small, just starting out incomes so I applied for TennCare. I could probably write a book about the problems that I encountered just trying to apply for the coverage and I have a college education! So after my paperwork gets submitted for the second time, I get this cryptic phone call from someone at TennCare asking some cryptic question about when I would want my benefits to begin. And then I heard nothing else from them.

In the mean time, HIPAA passed and I signed up for health insurance through my company. Fast forward 4-5 months. I get a very nasty letter from TennCare saying that they are cutting off my benefits and that I owe them X amount of dollars in past premiums not paid. What?? I NEVER, NEVER, EVER received one statement, benefit card, letter, ANYTHING from then that told me I had been accepted into the program. NOTHING!! But when they didn't get "their" money they somehow tracked me down. I had to go to their "court" and sit in front of some judge kind of person (sorry for terrible terminology!) and plead my case. Apparently the TennCare representative discovered that they, surprise, surprise, had entered an incorrect address for me and my case was dismissed! I've hated TennCare ever since then.

At 12:27 AM, May 03, 2006, Blogger Jeffraham Prestonian said...

Life begins at conception, and ends at birth for some, y'know. It's those people whose kids need to catch a communicable childhood disease from an uninsured, un-immunized child, IMO.

At 11:58 AM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Ed Buckby said...

I think you represent a lot of us. My ex was a social worker, and I can't tell you how many Tenncare homes she visited that had 4 kids playing with a Nintendo, a table full of smokes, and a fridge full of beer. Generally, she was visiting a 300 pound person on their 4th knee surgery who wasn't getting his disability checks soon enough to pay for their vacation.

I don't cringe when I hear someone on Tenncare who's REALLY sick and REALLY trying to get off Tenncare. However, when some guy drives his new Tahoe into the office to get his 4th MRI on Tenncare, it DOES bug me.


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