Health-care disparities exist for children with autism spectrum disorders, researcher says

June 11, 2012

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) require an array of specialized health care services. With these services come higher costs for parents and insurance providers. University of Missouri researchers compared costs and types of services for children with ASD to costs and services for children with other conditions like asthma or diabetes. The researchers found children with ASD paid more for health care than children with other conditions. In addition, children with ASD used more services yet had less access to specialized care.

"Across the board, children with ASD used more , including in-patient stays in the hospital, and required more medications," said Nancy Cheak-Zamora, assistant professor of health sciences in the MU School of Health Professions. "Children's insurance companies paid more for services, and parents also paid more, with their out-of-pocket costs often exceeding a thousand dollars per year."

Cheak-Zamora reviewed previous studies that evaluated how much families of children with ASD paid for health care services. She noticed inequities in the quality and cost of health care for children with ASD compared to children with other specialized care needs.

"Children with ASD need coordinated health care, better access to services and more affordable care," Cheak-Zamora said. "Insurance companies should develop policies that will cover the treatments children with ASD need."

Children with ASD are prone to other conditions, such as seizures, and that can cause them to use health services more frequently. Cheak-Zamora said should address all these needs by providing care using the medical home model: primary care that is comprehensive, coordinated and family-centered.

"In general, having a medical home helps ensure you have quality health care. It examines how well your health care providers are giving you coordinated care in which the family is truly a partner," Cheak-Zamora said. "We found that children with ASD have medical homes less often than children with other special health care needs. This is a problem because families without a medical home report experiencing more financial problems and difficulties accessing and utilizing needed medical services."

Explore further: ADHD symptoms worsen quality of life for individuals with autism

More information: The article, "A systematic review of disparities in health care for individuals with autism spectrum disorders in the United States," was published in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Related Stories

ADHD symptoms worsen quality of life for individuals with autism

September 19, 2011
Research supported by the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN), demonstrating that symptoms of attention deficit and hyperactivity worsen quality of life for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), was presented ...

Health-care reform must involve psychologists, medical providers, educate patients

July 21, 2011
While some members of Congress and others are trying to repeal the healthcare reform law that was passed in 2010, known as the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," medical providers have begun to implement requirements ...

Study explores autism co-occurring conditions and diagnosis change

January 24, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- In a new Pediatrics article, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined the relationship between the co-occurring conditions in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders ...

Children with public health insurance less likely to receive comprehensive primary care

July 15, 2011
Children with public insurance are 22 percent less likely to receive comprehensive primary care than those with private insurance, according to new research from the University of Michigan Medical School.

Health care, home, school differ for children with special health care needs

December 6, 2011
The first federally funded report to compare children with special health care needs to children without reveals 14 percent to 19 percent of children in the United States have a special health care need and their insurance ...

Recommended for you

Scientists make autism advance using monkey model

August 21, 2017
Autism is a common neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social communication and restricted and repetitive behavior or interests. The reported prevalence of autism has been rising worldwide. Due to the application ...

High quality early intervention for children with autism quickly results in costs savings

August 8, 2017
One in every 68 children in the United States has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a neuro-developmental disorder that results in difficulty socializing and communicating needs and desires, and often is accompanied by restricted ...

Research identifies effects of cognitive behaviour therapy on parents of children with autism

August 1, 2017
Parents of children with autism experience a greater impact from their child's therapy than once thought, according to new research out of York University's Faculty of Health.

People with autism are less surprised by the unexpected

July 31, 2017
Adults with autism may overestimate the volatility of the world around them, finds a new UCL study published in Nature Neuroscience.

Late-breaking mutations may play an important role in autism

July 17, 2017
A study of nearly 6,000 families, combining three genetic sequencing technologies, finds that mutations that occur after conception play an important role in autism. A team led by investigators at Boston Children's Hospital ...

Females with autism show greater difficulty with day-to-day tasks than male counterparts

July 14, 2017
Women and girls with autism may face greater challenges with real world planning, organization and other daily living skills, according to a study published in the journal Autism Research.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.