Tennessee has spent nearly $10M to implement program to support disabled children

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Two months after the rollout of a TennCare program offering support to disabled children in Tennessee whose families are not eligible for Medicaid, more than 290 children are enrolled.

The Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) and TennCare announced Monday the agency had received 849 applications for the Katie Beckett Program through its website since the program opened in November.

“We’ve seen great success with this initial program launch,” TennCare Director Stephen Smith said in a statement. “We will build on this success to ensure as many families as possible can receive the tremendous support and assistance that the Katie Beckett program is designed to provide.”

The program has cost TennCare and DIDD nearly $10 million to implement, according to a report provided to members of the General Assembly by the two agencies. About $8.9 million was spent on an information system to support the program.

The Katie Beckett program was established by legislation passed in 2019 and received federal approval late last year. The program provides services to children with significant disabilities whose parents’ income or assets make them ineligible for Medicaid.

About 40% of the families seeking to participate in the program have incomes of more than $100,000 a year.

“I’m proud of the tireless work and collaboration that allowed us to rapidly launch this program after federal approval,” DIDD Commissioner Brad Turner said in a statement. “Families across Tennessee are already seeing the financial, physical and emotional relief this program can provide.”

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