100,000+ Shelby County Residents Uninsured Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Last modified: March 19, 2020

The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has already affected all the states in the US; widespread transmission is expected to occur in the entire country just a couple of months from now. In order to stop, or at least slow down the spread of the virus, certain measures have been implemented including social distancing. 

All the same, Americans are worried about the costs associated with getting infected, especially for those without any kind of health insurance. In Shelby County alone, 13% of the population is facing the COVID-19 scare without any coverage. Based on the Census data released in 2018, this translates to over 100,000 residents.   

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 14% of COVID-19 cases require oxygen support and hospitalization, whereas another 5% require an intensive care unit. Although billions of state and federal funds are now available to help fight the outbreak, Governor Bill Lee said that there’s no guarantee that the uninsured will be able to access affordable healthcare.  

As the virus continues to spread within the state, the economic impact of the outbreak is getting worse by the hour. To address both issues, Lee allocated funds for medical supplies, nutrition assistance, as well as paid sick leaves and unemployment benefits. In addition, a $150 million fund would also be used to tackle health and safety issues stemming from COVID-19. 

Given the current situation, some critics say that Medicaid expansion is something that’s well worth considering right now. Tennessee’s Medicaid program, TennCare, offers medical services to low-income residents, children and their parents, pregnant women, persons with disabilities, and the elderly. Experts reveal that the expansion could be done within days amid the outbreak. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Sunday that Florida was the first state to provide expanded Medicaid services in the country.

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