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Tennessee to offer free diapers through Medicaid, CoverKids

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Tennessee to offer free diapers through Medicaid, CoverKids

May 28, 2024 | 6:02 am ET
By Anita Wadhwani
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Tennessee to offer free diapers through Medicaid, Cover Kids
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Low-income Tennessee parents will soon have access to monthly supplies of free diapers under a new program approved last week by federal regulators.

Beginning in August, the state will cover the cost of 100 diapers per month for children under two who are enrolled in TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program, and CoverKids, the state’s insurance program for kids whose families are not poor enough for TennCare but cannot afford private insurance.

“These new initiatives will ease financial burdens for families and ensure the well-being of TennCare’s youngest members,” a statement from TennCare said.

TennCare currently covers diapers and other products for kids with illnesses or conditions that cause incontinence. The expansion of diaper benefits now includes any infant and toddler under two enrolled in either health insurance program.

In a letter announcing its approval of the program — the first in the nation — the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services noted that a key benefit to an adequate diaper supply is preventing diaper rashes and urinary tract infections, common occurrences when parents are forced to conserve diapers.  The agency last week also approved a similar program in Delaware to provide up to 80 diapers and wipes to infants up to three months old.

The new benefit is a component of Gov. Bill Lee’s “Strong Families Initiative” approved by lawmakers last year in the wake of the state’s strict abortion ban. At the time, Lee said the initiative affirmed his support for mothers facing crisis pregnancies. The initiative also includes new funding for crisis pregnancy centers and adoption aid.

Earlier this year, GOP lawmakers rejected a bill to exempt infant diapers, wipes and formula from sales taxes for all Tennessee parents.