Results are In...Medical Expenses Associated with Special Needs Kids on the Rise

Major Life Challenges Blog Series

We are taking a closer look at some of the big issues we all can face in our lifetime. Each topic will be featured as a blog series.

Results are In...Medical Expenses Associated with Special Needs Kids on the Rise

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Our Journey Through AutismMedical expenses are listed as one of the top ten causes of debt. At CareOne Debt Relief Services we are hoping to reach out and help those in need develop a plan to manage their debt.  

Financial education and resources are key components to understanding how to deal with medical expenses. There are many resources available for those who qualify and if medical debt does become a problem there are various ways CareOne can help. Whether it is a plan to manage your debt on your own, or through one of our plans we have been there, we understand and are here to help.  

Many of our customers have experienced financial issues due to medical expenses and can relate to the challenges emotionally, physically and financially. Sharing stories is one of the best ways we can learn from each other and how to handle tough times. 

During the month of October Our Journey Thru Autism graciously agreed to host a survey on their site asking the difficult questions associated with handling medical expenses for special needs children; more specifically those with autism.

We are extremely grateful to Our Journey Thru Autism for hosting the survey and to their readers for providing responses. This type of research is what helps us understand the types of financial issues many are enduring as they raise children with various special needs

The results of the survey were not surprising as we know this is becoming an increasingly larger issue across the United States. Take a few moments to see how many are struggling with medical expenses beyond their control. 

How has your family been impacted financially by your child's special needs? 

"So far, not so badly since we have both regular health insurance and mass health, but w/o mass health, we would not be able to afford our son's services." 

"We have had bills not covered or covered minimally by insurance."  

"We have to pay out of pocket for private therapists, psychologists, social skills group, etc. Even when insurance will pay for part of a service or visit, it still leaves a large portion for us to pay. Any spare money we have usually goes to paying off medical bills." 

As you can see many families are impacted by the expensive care necessary for their special needs child that is not covered by their insurance. Government assistance programs may help if you qualify. Be sure to research all of the available programs to see if you are eligible for benefits.   

Care that is not considered medically necessary is usually not covered leaving many parents with the choice to pay out of pocket for the care or refrain from care that may help their child improve.  

Do you budget for medical expenses?  

Fifty percent do not have room in their budget for medical expenses; unfortunately this is what often leads to mounting debt.  

"As medical needs come up for the kids, we give them what they need. It's the parents who put our needs on hold." 

"We have to budget for basics like prescriptions and co-pays for doctor visits. There are times that we might have to wait to get a prescription filled or we might have to reschedule a doctor visit if there's not enough in the budget for it." 

"We have made payment arrangements with most out of pocket expenses.  Everyone has to accept the $10 per month that we are able to pay each of them.  But there is no room in our budget to plan ahead." 

Many struggle with budgeting for the unexpected expenses that come up as a result of a new treatment, travel, or special therapy. There are ways you can do it, explained in this article: Four Ways to Plan for Unexpected Medical Expenses

Results are In...Medical Expenses Associated with Special Needs Kids on the RiseWhat sacrifices have you had to make as a family financially? 

"We sacrifice a lot because of our financial situation; no TV services, no long distance, no extras, no extra curricula activities, it's very tight." 

"Fewer vacations, postponing home repairs, mom has had to quick working so income dropped." 

"We have sacrificed vacations, special holiday events. There is just no spare money to go towards anything. Even buying enough groceries can be hard after paying for prescriptions." 

"No vacations.  No extras at all, living bare bones.  House maintenance hit the back burner so it needs serious love." 

Love comes in the form of sacrifice and these families exhibit the sacrifices made to ensure their child has the care that they need even when it is unaffordable.  

If you have had to leave your career, how has that impacted your finances and what are you doing to compensate? 

"I chose to leave my career before learning about the special needs.  I intended to return when my kids were school age, but because of special needs I am not." 

"Income has been cut in half, so we have had to reduce spending all the way around."

 "I am a stay at home mom and I have no way to compensate for income. I would not be able to have a job because I spend so much time both at his school and taking him to different appointments." 

"Loss of a second income in today's economy is really hard.  We stripped everything to only the bare essentials.  We buy store brand and use coupons for everything.  We only make purchases out of necessity.  There are no extras at all in our family." 

Many special needs children require round the clock care that is as you can imagine grossly expensive. Many families opt to have one parent stay home to take care of the child either due to the financial impact of hiring a caregiver or just to be there for their child giving them every opportunity to improve. 

What has been the biggest sacrifice financially you have had to make?  

"Letting the house get rundown." 

"Private therapies cost a lot but are necessary. The money used to pay for that could be used to pay other bills or to have extra spending money for meals, groceries, or even to save for a vacation. We have used all our savings trying to keep up." 

"Home maintenance and repair; we are embarrassed by our home's state of disrepair." 

As you can see from the above responses many families have let their homes go by the wayside as care for the child is more valuable.  

If you could consolidate all your medical expenses, would this help you? 

"Not now as we have payment plans in place that are working for us.  However, if we knew about this in advance, we may have been able to tap into it." 

75 % of respondents say consolidating their medical expenses may help, while 25 % say it wouldn't make a difference.  

The survey responses show us that many are unaware of programs available to consolidate medical bills and have been tasked with developing payment plans on their own. While this is certainly an option, having someone like CareOne available to help consolidate all the bills into one payment can ease the stress and burden when it comes to the financial aspect of having a special needs child. 

Do you have a special needs child? Are you faced with financial burdens that affect you and your family? How have you dealt with this issue?

To Read More Posts From our Blog Series; Medical Debt, Expect the Unexpected, click here

Suzanne Cramer

Suzanne is a certified credit counselor and a Social Media Specialist for CareOne Debt Relief Services. Suzanne writes for Divorce, Debt and Finances and Major Life Challenges. Follow Suzanne on Twitter @ADivorcedMom where she shares her insights as a single-divorced mom with tips and tricks to keep your finances in check. 

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