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UNC study: Out-of-pocket health care costs for disabled children vary widely by state
Date:7/14/2008

n has important clinical and social implications. Understanding that burden is especially pressing, given it's estimated that between about 13 to 16 percent of U.S. children have special health-care needs," Parish said.

Of the nearly 39,000 families included in the research, about 91 percent reported spending some money out-of-pocket on special health-care needs for their children. These expenses ranged from medications to home therapy. The study looked at families with similar household demographics and involved children with a range of disabilities, including mental retardation, asthma and spina bifida, Parish said.

The report, which was based on 2002 data from the National Center for Health Statistics, also looked closely at gross family income to highlight disparities among the states. In North Carolina, for example, a family with a gross income of $50,000 spent almost $1,100 annually to care for its disabled children. A family in Louisiana earning the same amount paid about $1,600 annually.

"What we found was not only was the financial burden higher in some states, it was higher for poor families," Parish said. "We need to understand how state policies are affecting children with disabilities."

Families in Massachusetts felt the least financial pinch. On average, they paid $562 yearly on health care for their disabled children.


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Contact: Patric Lane
patric_lane@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

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