Are you missing out on free health benefits for your children? TennCare Kids offers free health checkups and services for all children who have TennCare. On a recent episode of Community Health Matters, Dr. Joel Bradley, chief medical officer at UnitedHealthcare in Tennessee, and Dr. Deanna Bell, pediatrician at Williamson Medical Center, explained the TennCare Kids program and shared insights for getting the most out of your child’s health checkups. View their full interview here.
Children should have 12 checkups before the age of three, and annual checkups to age 21. Checkups allow for early diagnosis of issues ranging from physical conditions like hearing and vision problems to developmental issues like ADHD, autism and problems with motor skills. Doctors also look for environmental risks like lead poisoning and mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
According to Dr. Bell, the types of problems found at these checkups vary by age group, including:
- Below age 3 – motor delays, hearing and vision and autism
- Ages 3 to 8 – attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities
- Ages 8 and up – anxiety and depression
And at age 11, screenings also begin for alcohol and drug abuse.
Don’t worry, however, if your pediatrician finds a problem. All tests, medications, procedures or treatments that your children may need are also free under TennCare Kids. Therefore, it’s essential to follow through with any further tests, appointments and treatments the physician recommends.
Have concerns about vaccinations? Vaccines undergo years of testing and research before they are made available to the public and they’re only given when the risk of any side effect is significantly less than the risks posed by the disease itself. Immunizations are critical in preventing serious diseases and often mandatory in school districts.
For example, if your child is enrolling in kindergarten in Tennessee, they are required to receive the following immunizations:
- Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTaP, or DT)
- Hepatitis B (HBV)
- Measles, Mumps, Rubella – Two doses of each, usually given together as MMR
- Poliomyelitis (IPV or OPV) – Final dose on or after the 4th birthday
- Varicella – Two doses or history of disease
- Hepatitis – Total of two doses, spaced at least six months apart
To schedule a TennCare Kids visit, call your child’s primary care physician. If you need to find a doctor, contact your health plan or your local health department. To learn more, visit KidCentralTN.com. And if you’re not in TennCare but think your child might be eligible or have questions, contact Healthcare.gov or call 1.800.318.2596.