Report Links High School Dropout Rate and Potential TennCare Savings

Jul 11, 2013


A new report says that cutting the number of high school dropouts in Tennessee would lead to the state saving money on TennCare. The Alliance for Excellent Education says that cutting the number in half would mean an annual savings of $127 million in Tennessee's Medicaid program.

The report, Well and Well-Off: Decreasing Medicaid and Health-Care Costs by Increasing Educational Attainment, analyzes Medicaid spending nationwide on alcoholism, heart disease, obesity, and tobacco use. The report then estimates potential Medicaid savings based on educational attainment.

The report breaks out the $127 million estimated annual TennCare savings to $16 million in preventive costs for heart disease; $33 million for obesity; $25 million for alcoholism; $34 million for reduced smoking and tobacco use.

TennCare Director Darin Gordon said he isn’t surprised by the findings and that the connection between educational attainment and better health isn't a new one. But Gordon also said he’d never before seen dollar estimates of the potential savings.