Tennessee 2014 CHIP Fact Sheet

Key Highlights:

Program Type: Tennessee operates a combination CHIP program, called CoverKids.

Number of Children Covered: In FY2013, 106,473 children were covered by CoverKids.*

State’s Enhanced Federal Match Rate: For FY2014, the federal match is 75.70% and for FY2015 it is 75.49%.

*Data from Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission March 2014 MACStats report.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was created in 1997 to provide quality health coverage for children under 19 in families that earned too much to qualify for Medicaid but were unable to afford coverage in the private market. Each state has the option to cover its CHIP population under its Medicaid program, design and structure a separate CHIP program, or establish a combination program using both options.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009 strengthened the program through increased federal funding, new outreach and enrollment opportunities, mental health parity, the requirement to cover dental care, and other provisions. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) extended CHIP funding through federal fiscal year 2015 and required states to maintain Medicaid and CHIP eligibility levels and processes for children through 2019.1

Participation Rate: 90.4% of eligible children in Tennessee participated in either Medicaid or CoverKids in 2011, the last year for which we have national data. The national average was 87.2% in 2011.2

Eligibility Levels: States establish CHIP eligibility levels within federal rules. Under the ACA’s maintenance of effort requirement, they must maintain CHIP eligibility levels they had in place when ACA was enacted until September 30, 2019. Beginning in 2014, eligibility levels for CHIP were revised based on Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI).

Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) Eligibility Levels for CHIP in Tennessee (by Age Group) in 2014
  Ages 0 – 1 Ages 1 – 5 Ages 6 – 18
Medicaid Expansion 196-211% FPL 143-211% FPL 134-211% FPL
Separate CHIP Program 196-250% FPL 143-250% FPL 134-250% FPL

Notes: Under ACA, states must cover all children with incomes up to 133% FPL in Medicaid, but if they had been covered in CHIP (Title XXI) prior to 2014, the state still receives the Title XXI match. Eligibility levels do not include the mandatory 5% income disregard. Medicaid expansion program data from state; separate CHIP program data from CMS eligibility table. Conception to birth coverage is also offered under the CHIP unborn child option.

Benefit Package: States that operate Medicaid expansion CHIP programs must follow Medicaid rules, including providing all Medicaid covered benefits to enrolled children. In separate CHIP programs, states have substantial flexibility in designing CHIP benefit packages within broad federal guidelines. In addition to general medical and dental benefits, other benefits offered in Tennessee’s CHIP program include (but are not necessarily limited to):

  • Inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Vision exams and corrective lenses
  • Services for speech, hearing, and language disorders
  • Hearing exams and hearing aids
  • Durable medical equipment

Delivery System: The Medicaid and the Medicaid expansion CHIP program are managed care programs while the separate CHIP program is a fee-for-service insurance arrangement built around a defined preferred provider organization (PPO) network.

Premiums & Cost Sharing: Within federal parameters, states can set CHIP program premium and cost sharing levels. In total, any family contribution to the cost of coverage cannot exceed five percent of family income.

Premiums and Selected Cost Sharing in Tennessee’s CHIP Program, 2013
Family Income Level Premiums Office Visits Inpatient Services Prescription Drugs
≤150% FPL None $5 $5 $1-$5
151-250% FPL None $15-$20 $100 $5-$40

Note: MAGI-adjusted income levels for premiums and cost sharing were not available at the time of publication.

Efforts to Simplify Enrollment and Renewals: CHIPRA established a five-year incentive program to support state efforts to simplify enrollment and renewal of eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP.3 From FY2009 – FY2013, Tennessee did not qualify for incentive payments.4

Enrollment and Renewal Strategies Implemented in Tennessee, as of December 2013




Elimination of in-person interview*

Use of presumptive eligibility


Elimination of asset test*

Use of 12-month continuous eligibility

Use of joint application and renewal forms*


Use of express lane eligibility


Automatic/Administrative renewal*

Premium assistance


*ACA requires states to implement this strategy beginning January 2014. For definitions of strategies in this chart, see the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services December 2009 State Health Official letter.

Other Program Characteristics: Below are some other key program characteristics of CoverKids.

Does Tennessee…
Require a waiting period?5 No (as of 1/1/14)6

Offer a buy-in option?7No (as of 1/1/14)8

Cover dependents of public employees?9NoCover lawfully residing children without a five-year waiting period?10No

Source: Getting Into Gear for 2014: Findings from a 50-State Survey of Eligibility, Enrollment, Renewal, and Cost-Sharing Policies in Medicaid and CHIP, 2012-2013.

Quality Measures: States may report on a “core set” of quality measures for children. Tennessee reported on 22 measures for federal fiscal year 2012. Among the measures is access to primary care providers, listed below.

Percentage of Children and Adolescents Visiting a Primary Care Provider, by Age (FFY 2012)

12-24 month

25 months – 6 years

7-11 years

12-19 years






Source: Department of Health and Human Services, 2013 Annual Report on the Quality of Care for Children in Medicaid and CHIP, September 2013. The measure is for the percentage of children ages 12 to 24 months and 25 months to 6 years receiving a visit to a primary care provider within the past year; and every two years for children ages 7 to 11 years and 12 to 19 years. Note: These data include CHIP only.


1 Information in this fact sheet has been verified by the state.

2 Genevieve Kenney et al., Medicaid/CHIP Participation Rates Among Children: An Update. September 2013.  http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/issue_briefs/2013/rwjf407769

3 To qualify for incentive payments each fiscal year, states had to implement at least 5 out of 8 specified strategies and increase child enrollment in Medicaid above a state-specific target level.

4 InsureKidsNow.gov. “CHIPRA Performance Bonuses: A History (FY 2009 – FY 2013).” http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/professionals/eligibility/pb-2013-chart.pdf

5 States may implement waiting periods up to 90 days in CHIP. A waiting period is the length of time a child must be uninsured before s/he can enroll in CHIP.

6 Information on waiting periods verified by state. Prior to January 2014, CoverKids had a three-month waiting period.

7 States can allow families with incomes above the upper income eligibility limit to pay the full cost to purchase coverage for their uninsured children through CHIP.

8 Prior to January 2014, CoverKids offered a buy-in program to families with incomes exceeding 250% FPL.

9 CHIPRA provided states the option to cover the income-eligible dependents of state employees under CHIP.

10 CHIPRA provided states the option to remove the five-year waiting period for lawfully residing children.






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