JOHNSON CITY, Tenn (WJHL) — Pregnant and postpartum mothers in Tennessee who are eligible for TennCare now have health care and dental insurance coverage for a full year.
Previously, coverage under the state’s Medicaid program lasted just 60 days.
The expansion which took effect April 1 is intended to offer enhanced care and ease of access to care for thousands of mothers during a medically critical time.
“The first 12 months after birth is really a critical time not only for the mom but for the child as well,” said Dr. Victor Wu, TennCare’s chief medical officer. “If we can help improve our Mom’s health, we know that will improve infant’s health.”
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The expansion includes dental coverage for a year, a benefit Wu said had not been offered until this point.
“We know that oral health is a really important part of anyone’s health in general, but research has shown pregnancy can complicate oral health and oral health disease can complicate pregnancy,” he said.
The expansion is part of Gov. Bill Lee’s “Supporting Strong Families” initiative launched in 2021 and will immediately benefit as many as 6,000 women in Tennessee, Wu said. It coincides with a new federal law allowing states to provide a year of Medicaid postpartum coverage.
“We know how stressful it is in the first weeks after you deliver let alone the first year, and having the ability to have consistent eligibility under TennCare and not having to worry about all that comes with insurance will help our moms and kids as well,” Dr. Wu said.
Mothers hoping to take advantage of the pregnancy and postpartum TennCare benefits expansion must update their TennCare Connect account to notify the state they are expecting a baby. They can call 855-259-0701, register online at www.tenncareconnect.tn.gov, or visit their local county health department.