The cost of services for children with autism averages more than $17,000 per child each year — with school systems footing much of the bill, a new U.S. study estimates.
Researchers found that compared to kids without autism, those with the disorder had higher costs for doctor visits and prescriptions — an extra $3,000 a year, on average.
But the biggest expenses were outside the medical realm. “Non-health care” services averaged $14,000 per child, and special education at school accounted for more than 60 percent of those costs.
The researchers reported they shockingly found that parents with autistic children did not have higher out-of-pocket costs in comparison to parents who did not have autistic children. The team reasoned that the average out-of-pocket costs that parents spent on their children regardless of an autism diagnosis could be the same due to insurance reform. Insurance companies now cover more treatments for children with developmental conditions.
“This study could suggest that autism insurance reform is working,” Rosanoff commented according to WebMD.
The researchers concluded their findings based on data collected from two national surveys. In one of them, parents were asked to provide information on non-medical services that their autistic children needed. The data involved 246 families who had children affected with autism spectrum disorders that ranged from mild to severe. The researchers also had information on 19,000 families that did not have any autistic children.