Knoxville faith based clinic seeing more uninsured

Knoxville faith based clinic seeing more uninsured

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Because Tennessee didn't expand Medicaid, Ginny Holt didn't qualify for TennCare. So she turned to Interfaith, which is a faith based clinic in North Knoxville. Because Tennessee didn't expand Medicaid, Ginny Holt didn't qualify for TennCare. So she turned to Interfaith, which is a faith based clinic in North Knoxville.
Interfaith's Executive Director, Melissa Knight, tells 6 News they are seeing double the amount of patients a month compared to last year. Interfaith's Executive Director, Melissa Knight, tells 6 News they are seeing double the amount of patients a month compared to last year.
By CAMERON TAYLOR
6 News Reporter


KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Are more uninsured people leaning on faith based clinics even with the Affordable Care Act in effect? Administrators at one clinic in Knoxville say yes.

Interfaith's Executive Director, Melissa Knight, tells 6 News they are seeing double the amount of patients a month compared to last year. She believes the biggest factor contributing to that is more companies dropping health insurance and leaving people uninsured as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

54-year-old Ginny Holt has heart and stomach problems, along with high blood pressure. She lost her job along with the health insurance it provided six years ago.

"My biggest fear about becoming unemployed and then becoming a caregiver and not having insurance, my greatest fear was what I was going to do for health care," said Ginny Holt, an Interfaith patient.

Because Tennessee didn't expand Medicaid, she didn't qualify for TennCare. So she turned to Interfaith, which is a faith based clinic in North Knoxville.


Patients at Interfaith must be uninsured and be below 250% of the federal poverty line. 


"We are the final stop. I think everybody would choose to have health insurance or have access, but our patients have nowhere else to go," said Melissa Knight, Interfaith's Executive Director.  

A typical check up costs about $15 to $20, which is something Holt can afford. She did try to get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act but didn't qualify for any subsidies. She received a waiver to continue going to Interfaith.

The clinic has gradually seen more people with about 100 new patients a month. That's up from 50 a month from last year. 

"So people who once had health insurance through their employer might not have it anymore and that's where the increase in patients [came from] because some of the uninsured did qualify to get subsidies," said Knight.  

For people like Holt who had lung cancer at one point, the clinic saved her life. 

"I couldn't be positive without them. I really don't think I'd be alive right now without their support," said Holt.  


Patients like Holt are charged about 10% of what visits and procedures would usually cost and then are allowed to make payments, according to Interfaith's Executive Director. Although they receive a discount, they could potentially pay more than someone with health insurance who has a maximum out of pocket charge.

So far Interfaith has been able to keep up with the increased demand, but they say funding is always an issue. They don't receive any federal funds and instead rely almost only on community donations and grants.


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