A group of researchers at Harvard University and Boston Children’s Hospital recently quantified the increased medical and educational costs that come with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).
An analysis of data from a private survey and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (through the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) found that children with ASDs had close to $17,000 yearly in excess costs related to healthcare and schooling when compared to children without ASDs. These children were found to have, on average, $3,020 higher healthcare costs and $14,061 higher non-healthcare costs, including $8,610 higher school costs related to special education services. This was after adjusting for healthcare issues not directly related to ASDs.
However, the research found that this greater healthcare utilization did not result in higher out-of-pocket expenses for families. This finding contrasts with some previous studies and reports on the personal financial burden of raising children with autism (although it does not take into account factors such as a mother leaving the workforce because of a child’s higher needs). These results were reported online February 10, 2014, in the journal Pediatrics.
The advocacy organization Autism Speaks has found an average lifetime cost of $1.4 million for a person with autism. That group is currently funding an in-depth study on the costs of autism treatment around the world and broken down by subtype and interventions. More information on that study can be found at http://bit.ly/1hPyOzc.