Free food, school supplies available at July 31 back-to-school fair at EHS

Published 3:25 pm Thursday, July 27, 2023

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By Angela Cutrer
Star correspondent
As the new school year approaches, organizations are aiming to jump start students’ back-to-school preparation with free backpacks and school supplies as well as fun for the entire family.
The Amerigroup Tennessee and local community partners have teamed up with Elizabethton High School to host a Back-to-School & Medicaid Resource Fair July 31. This free event is open to the community and will feature free backpacks and school supplies, as well as food, fun, music, haircuts, inflatables, an obstacle course and games for kids and families in attendance.
The event is at the Elizabethton High School gym, 907 Jason Witten Way, and runs from 6 to 8 p.m. Back-to-school supplies will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. The fair will include health education materials, food and entertainment.
Being prepared to go back to school with needed school supplies can have a direct impact on children’s overall health,” the organizations’ press release stated. “It can help improve their grades, creativity and attitude toward learning, but it can also place a stressful financial burden on families who struggle to come up with the money it costs to send a child to school each year.
“To reduce some of this stress and help children thrive in school, Amerigroup hosts and participates in dozens of annual school supply distribution events and Medicaid resource fairs. Amerigroup Tennessee and Elizabethton High School share a common mission to improve the lives of children as well as connect students and families with the resources they need to succeed in life.”
Another consideration for parents is whether their TennCare health insurance is still in place. With the Medicaid “unwinding” process underway in Tennessee, many Medicaid recipients across the state are at risk of losing their healthcare coverage. Every state, including Tennessee, will resume determining an individual’s Medicaid eligibility this year.
Officials from Amerigroup said they are proactively connecting with members to ensure they are equipped with the tools and information to redetermine Medicaid eligibility by collaborating with local agencies and partners to support members across the state throughout the unwinding.
TennCare, the state of Tennessee’s managed Medicaid agency, estimates that thousands of current Medicaid enrollees will no longer be eligible as a result of Medicaid renewal, also known as Medicaid “redetermination.”
Amerigroup representatives will assist fair attendees with a Medicaid “redetermination” process to ensure qualified Tennessee residents maintain health coverage.
The New York Times reported last month that millions of Americans who qualify for Medicaid have lost coverage for procedural reasons, such as when recipients did not return paperwork to verify their eligibility or could not be located. Many of those who have been dropped are children.

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