Tough choices: Autism, private health insurance and family out-of-pocket spending

Emerging patterns in our current work suggest that insurance choices of families raising children with autism are influenced by out-of-pocket expenditures without regard to the breadth and depth of services covered. This is troubling from a policy perspective since low deductible and co-payment plans are expensive and reduce resources thereby constraining use of uncovered services. The goal of this study is to develop firmer evidence about the relationships between private health insurance plan features and family needs. Two hypotheses will be examined using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey: that families will value low deductibles, but that low deductibles expose families to unanticipated expenditures.

Principal Investigator: Kathleen Thomas, PhD
Funding Source: Maternal & Child Health Bureau/HRSA
Project Period: 09/01/14 – 08/31/15