The Investment in Autism Treatment


I have read articles from other autism parents that describe the cost of care for their child.  Some parents even joke that their child with autism is their million dollar child.  That got me thinking about my own finances and my own child.  I have for years maxed out our health insurance on doctors appointments and therapy.  I have constantly been on the search of more money, grants, scholarships, or other insurances that can assist in the cost.  When I knew that ABA therapy was necessary to help my son, I knew that the cost was going to significantly increase.  Some children have more complicated cases or are medically complex and have exceptionally high medical bills.

My son was diagnosed at age four but was receiving therapy from age three.  We were paying for speech and occupational therapy once a week. We would then add a once a week social skills class with ABA therapists.  PicsArt_06-05-02.18.00Since then, we have dropped all those therapies and continued only with ABA therapy.  The total amount billed to insurance during the first five months of 2017 for just ABA therapy for my son was $32,258.67. Over the last 18 months that total billed charged were $58,571.67 and my out of pocket costs include $9,938.81 plus premiums every month. My estimated premium costs for the 18 months would be approximately $9,870.30 for a grand total of $19,809.11 out of pocket expense for services.

Obviously, all children are expensive to raise but the cost of raising a child with special needs or medical complexity is significantly different.  These costs do not include the extensive dental work , totally over $1000, my son had in 2015 with the cost of sedation to repair his teeth.  I have been able to find ways to afford treatment and care.

  • Our family has a business that has helped to cover the drop off and pick up times throughout the day because we have a parent  that has a flexible schedule.
  • I was able to receive a medical assistance grant from United Healthcare Children’s Medical Foundation.
  • We were also able to qualify for CMS in Florida (Children’s Medical Service) which covers 100% of therapy and medical needs for my child.
  • Lastly, some things just didn’t get paid.

In our nation, we have a major problem with equal access.  We also have an unfair insurance and medical system that takes advantage of those that are sick or diseased. At first I was uneasy about not paying the total amount due or paying in payments but as time went on and the costs mounted I had to get creative in getting grants to cover the necessary costs.  Now, that the most difficult time seems to have passed and we know what care level my son needs we have been able to acquire better insurance with CMS to meet those needs.   I wasn’t going to allow my child to go without therapy and I have and will be determined to access the best treatment for him.

If you are in a situation where your child has special needs and you need help making appointments, accessing therapists in your insurance network or paying for the services your child needs then contact us for suggestions.

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