Tennessee Proposes Free Diapers for Families

An expansion of Medicaid in Tennessee means that new parents might not have to pay for a diaper ever again. 

Diaper Dollars

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Tennessee is set to become the first state in the nation to provide families with baby diapers. 

A First in the Nation

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Starting later this summer, the state’s Medicaid program, TennCare, will cover 100 diapers a month for newborns, infants, and 1-year-olds. 

Relief for Families

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With the cost of living rising and monthly expenses squeezing budgets tighter than ever, this new benefit could be a saving grace for many families.

Breaking Down Barriers

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For many, the burden of monthly expenses is becoming increasingly difficult to manage. With diapers costing a small fortune, this new benefit couldn’t come at a better time. 

Diaper Costs vs. Family Budgets

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The high cost of diapers means that Tennessee’s initiative could potentially save families hundreds of dollars each year.

A Common Story

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According to the National Diaper Bank Network, 92% of families receiving diapers from diaper banks in Tennessee are working full-time or part-time, yet they still struggle to afford a decent supply of diapers. The high cost of diapers, coupled with other rising expenses, is leaving many parents struggling to keep their babies clean and healthy.

A Timely Benefit

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Dubbed the TennCare III Amendment, this initiative has received federal approval and is set to roll out in the coming months. “They’re expensive, so this is going to be a huge, huge break,” said Doug Adair, president of Nashville Diaper Connection. 

Health and Happiness

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The organization, which helps thousands of babies each month, sees this as a crucial development for family health and wellbeing.

Diapers Matter

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When diapers are scarce, babies risk painful rashes and infections. This can lead to parents developing anxiety and depression as their concern for their newborn takes over. 

Preventing Rashes and Infections

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“It’s obviously important for the baby to be clean and dry; it helps them be more healthy,” Adair noted. “If a parent can change the diapers when needed, it reduces the chances that the child is going to get diaper rash or a UTI, which can lead to additional stress and impact.”

Massive Distribution

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Last year, the Nashville Diaper Connection gave away over 3 million diapers, mainly to families with TennCare. Under the new benefit, TennCare is expected to distribute close to 100 million diapers. 

Expanding TennCare And CoverKids Eligibility

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently approved Tennessee’s plan, which also expands eligibility for TennCare and CoverKids to more parents and caregivers from June 1st.

Governor’s Vision

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This initiative is part of Governor Bill Lee’s Strong Families Initiative, approved by the General Assembly in 2023. Tennessee lawmakers granted $30 million in funding for the program during last year’s legislative session, which Governor Lee initially described as both “pro-life” and “pro-family.”

Leading the Way

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“Tennessee is leading the nation in prioritizing resources for families in need,” Governor Lee stated. “We are the first state in the nation to cover the cost of diapers for mothers in the first two years of a child’s life, and we hope this is a model for others.”

Continuing Support

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Despite this new benefit, diaper banks aren’t going away. “Food stamps have been around a long time, and Second Harvest and other food banks aren’t getting any smaller,” Adair explained. 

A Critical Need

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Community members can support local diaper banks by donating diapers, contributing financially, or purchasing items from the organization’s wish list and registry. Help at these institutes is in high demand, with babies in poverty sometimes spending over a day in a single diaper – putting them at risk of infections and other health issues.

A Gap in Assistance

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There are currently zero federal programs offering diaper assistance, even though the average annual cost of diapers can reach nearly $1,000.  

Daycare Dilemma

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Many daycare centers require parents to provide a day’s supply of diapers to take in a child, which puts a lot of stress on families’ finances. If families can’t supply the diapers, then parents are forced to take time off work to look after their children, which is eating further into their budgets.

Newborn Diaper Needs

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Newborn babies typically go through 8-10 diapers a day – around 300 a month on average – while toddlers use around half that.

Accessing The Benefits

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To access these new diaper benefits, children will have to be already covered by either CoverKids or TennCare.

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The post Tennessee Proposes Free Diapers for Families first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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