Tennessee program receives federal approval providing more coverage to disabled children

The program expects to open for self-referral on Nov. 23.
(Source: WWSB)
Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 3:18 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee’s Katie Beckett Program has received federal approval and is set to begin on Nov. 23, according to The Division of TennCare and the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

The Katie Beckett Program is a program for children with disabilities and/or medical needs who are ineligible for Medicaid due to their parent’s income. The program would grant TennCare coverage to more children with disabilities. It would mean parents could make more money, and still qualify for TennCare coverage for children.

Both parts of the program received approval from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on November 2, 2020.

Part A will provide Medicaid services to children with the most significant disabilities or complex medical needs. Children covered by Part B will not be enrolled in Medicaid, but will receive a capped package of supports of up to $10,000 annually to help meet their needs.

“This is great news for so many Tennessee families and their advocates,” TennCare director Stephen Smith said. “Tennessee’s Katie Beckett Program is an innovative approach that will benefit children and families in need throughout our state, and we look forward to getting started.”

The program would allow families the flexibility to choose from an array of service options, assist with co-pays and insurance premiums, and include reimbursement for both traditional and non-traditional therapies.

“As the father of a child with intellectual and developmental disabilities, I know the struggles and concerns families face every day to make sure their child gets the care they need,” DIDD Commissioner Brad Turner said. “This program reflects the input we received from families all over Tennessee, and I’m hopeful it will help provide them with physical, emotional, and financial relief.”

Nearly 700 families have expressed interest in applying for the program. One East Tennessee family pushed for the program to come to fruition.

The family said they were told a divorce would help with their high medical bills; bills they pay to keep their son healthy.

Families who are interested in applying will be able to fill out a self-referral form on the TennCare Connect website starting on November 23. A DIDD case manager will then contact them to follow up and continue the assessment process. DIDD and TennCare expect a high volume of applications in the first days and will work as quickly as possible to process the applications.

The program was passed by the General Assembly with support from Gov. Bill Lee in May 2019.

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