TennCare Updates Its Release Request Forms and Procedure
A recent change by the Bureau of TennCare (Tennessee’s version of Medicaid) has simplified the process for heirs and estate administrators to confirm whether a decedent’s estate must reimburse the State for the receipt of Medicaid funds. On November 1, 2020, the Bureau of TennCare rolled out its new, streamlined TennCare Release Request form and began processing Release Requests in the Bureau’s “Request for Release (RFR) Processing Unit.”
TennCare Release Requests are generally submitted, when appropriate, to the Bureau of TennCare prior to the post-death transfer of a decedent’s assets. Upon receipt of the Release Request, TennCare will inform the requester of whether and how much the decedent’s estate must reimburse the State of Tennessee for funds paid to or for that decedent through the Medicaid program. Particularly in the context of estate administration, Tennessee law explicitly obliges an estate administrator to notify TennCare of the opening of a decedent’s estate if the decedent was over the age of 55.
Requesters now may submit Release Requests via email, fax, or standard U.S. mail. Responses for Release Requests submitted via email and fax have significantly shorter turnaround times: releases for decedents who did not receive TennCare benefits will be emailed to the requester within one business day, while responses for decedents who did receive TennCare benefits will be emailed within three business days. In both scenarios, hard copies will also be mailed to the requester via U.S. mail.
Notably, the new TennCare form also now requires identification of any trusts of which the decedent was a beneficiary, along with the trustee’s contact information. Requesters must obtain a separate release for trust assets from TennCare’s legal department.
Requesters have a grace period until March 1, 2021 to continue to submit the old Release Request forms. The new TennCare Release Request forms can be found here: https://www.tn.gov/tenncare/legal/estate-recovery.html.
by Jennifer L. Sneed