Sunday, September 28, 2008
A Los Angeles Times article cited $70,000 per child per year as a typical cost for autism treatment. The cost of a 3-year intensive autism treatment program has been estimated as high as $300,000.
Although the cost of autism treatment can be staggering, through a combination of resourcefulness and determination, parents can find funding to help pay a significant portion of the costs of autism treatment. Here are some strategies for funding autism treatment:
· Pare Down Personal Expenses- Eliminate all unnecessary personal and household expenses. Minimize any expenses that cannot be eliminated. The money you save by eliminating waste and reducing costs can be used to pay for autism treatment.
· Squeeze Every Cent Possible out of Your Health Insurance Plan- Find out which autism treatment costs your health insurance will pay. File timely, thoroughly documented claims for all covered evaluations, treatments, therapies and other expenses.
· Sign-up for a Medical Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA)-Allocate the maximum dollar amount your employer will allow that you are certain you will use annually to your medical care FSA. The funds can be used to pay for autism treatment costs directly or to reimburse you for out of pocket treatment costs.
· Apply for SSI- If your child qualifies for SSI, the funds he or she receives could be used to pay a portion of the costs of autism treatment.
· See if You Qualify for Medicaid or Other State-Funded Health Care Programs- Medicaid or other state-funded health care programs could be used to pay for certain autism treatment costs.
· Apply for Financial Assistance from State and Local Human Services Agencies- Some states and municipalities offer direct payments, vouchers and other forms of assistance that could be used to fund autism treatment.
· Apply for Grants- A number of charitable organizations offer grants to help pay the costs of autism treatment. Sphere: Related Content
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Click on the link to learn how you can support the work of Dictionary for Dads Operation Fund. Sphere: Related Content
Web sites that offer rebates for making purchases can be excellent passive savings programs.
The best thing about passive savings programs is they are an easy way to save money by doing things you normally do anyway—like shopping online, shopping in retail stores, buying groceries, filling prescriptions, eating out, traveling, and more.
Once your funds are available, you can use them to pay for autism interventions such as ABA, speech therapy, occupational therapy, assistive technology or augmentative communication devices. The funds can also be used to pay for a college education as well as other expenses of your choice.
Click on the link to learn how to earn money to fund autism treatment through passive savings programs. Sphere: Related Content
Friday, September 12, 2008
The Fathers Network offers a variety of resources to assist fathers of children who have disabilities and other special needs, including workshops, trainings, news, inspirational stories, newsletters, curricula and an events calendar.
Click here for information on how you can support the work of the Fathers Network. Sphere: Related Content
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Once you have created an Autism Intervention Action Plan for your child, you can use it to develop and implement an Autism Treatment Plan.
1. Use what you learned about how autism affects your child to determine which therapies, treatments and interventions you feel would currently be most appropriate and beneficial for your child. Write a rationale for each treatment you are considering to help you clearly communicate your reasons for choosing to pursue each treatment option—based, of course, on your child’s strengths, deficits, behaviors, capabilities and needs—to treatment providers, school personnel, service coordinators and funding sources.
2. Discuss your proposed treatment plan with loved ones and individuals who are knowledgeable about autism interventions that you respect and trust. Discuss the pros and cons of each autism treatment option you are considering. Carefully weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each autism intervention you are thinking about implementing.
3. After you have finalized your basic autism treatment plan, prioritize the autism interventions you intend to implement. Place the therapies, treatments and interventions you believe are most essential for your child at this time at the top of your list.
4. From your own research, recommendations from other parents of children who have autism and referrals from physicians, therapists, consultants and specialists you trust, compile a list of potential service providers.
5. Contact the autism treatment providers you feel will best meet your child’s needs. Arrange to meet with the service providers whose qualifications, treatment approaches, fees and locations meet your requirements without your child present. Arrange for the autism treatment providers whom you would most like to have work with your child to actually meet your child. Make final decisions about which autism intervention professionals to work with after you have observed the prospective service providers interacting with your child.Sphere: Related Content
Analyze Your Health Insurance Policy
The first thing you need to do is conduct a bit of (health insurance) policy analysis. Read your health insurance handbook and statement of coverage, as well as any other document you can get your hands on that spells out exactly which services related to your child’s autism treatment your insurance will cover. Write down any questions you have and contact your health plan’s member services hotline to address your concerns.
Find out specifically what coverage and benefit limitations your plan has; how much your out-of-pocket costs (such as co-payments and deductibles) will be; whether your health insurance plan offers specific benefits for autism, the maximum number of therapy visits (speech, OT, PT) your plan allows on both annual and lifetime basis; whether your plan limits coverage for specific diagnosis codes; and which, if any, mental health service your health insurance plan covers.
Be sure to ask what procedures you need to follow in order to file a successful claim for covered services. Find out whether you need a referral, a prescription, a letter of medical necessity, support letters from therapists, school personnel, etc.
Inquire about procedures for filing an appeal if your claim is denied. Obtain the address, fax and phone numbers for your health insurance provider’s appeals department.
Keep Thorough Records
Once you’ve found out what is covered and what you need to do in order to file a successful claim, start a documentation file for keeping copies of all paperwork related to your child’s autism treatment. Keep copies of receipts, prescriptions, invoices, explanation of benefits (EOB) forms, letters of medical necessity and support letters from physicians, therapists, teachers, case managers and social workers.
Good recordkeeping practices will help you immensely in terms of managing your claims, appealing claim denials and preparing to file your income taxes.
Determination and Persistence Will Pay Off
Despite the well-publicized difficulties and frustrations some families have encountered while attempting to fund autism treatment through health insurance policies, it is very much worth your effort to find out which autism treatments your insurance will cover and to proactively seek payment of any eligible covered expenses by your health insurance carrier. Your dogged determination and relentless persistence will help you pay for the autism treatments and interventions your child needs in order to thrive.
For additional information and resources regarding funding autism treatment with health insurance, visit Blessed with Autism and Insurance Help for Autism. Sphere: Related Content
A Medical Care FSA be used to pay for diagnostic evaluations, co-payments, treatment and therapy fees, therapy equipment, over-the-counter and prescription medications, dietary supplements, medical travel expenses, disabled dependent care expenses, special education and specialized tutoring, among other expenses. For a full list of expenses that can be reimbursed by a Medical Care FSA, consult IRS Publication 502.
Autism treatment expenses that may be eligible (depending on your particular Medical Care FSA) for reimbursement for reimbursement may include ABA, speech therapy, occupational therapy, dietary supplements, diagnostic evaluations, assistive technology equipment, augmentative communication devices, tuition for therapeutic day schools and travel expenses for treatment in out-of-state facilities. Call the Internal Revenue Service (800) 829-1040 and check with your Medical Care FSA plan administrator for more information about which autism treatment expenses are reimbursable through your Medical Care FSA.
In addition to reimbursing you for out-of-pocket expenses for autism treatment, FSAs are tax-advantaged accounts that reduce your tax liability by reducing your taxable income. This may make you eligible for certain refundable tax credits.
This is how Medical Care FSAs work. If your employer allows you to place a maximum of $3,000 in a Medical Care FSA and you elect to take advantage of the full amount of the benefit, you will have the $3,000 deducted from your paycheck in equal installments. For example, if you are paid every other week and receive 26 annual paychecks, approximately $115.38 will be deducted from each of your paychecks. The funds will be deducted from your paycheck on a pre-tax basis so your taxable income will be lowered by $115.38 per paycheck and a total of $3,000 for the year. Having a lower annual taxable income could help you qualify for tax credits, such as the earned income tax credit, the child tax credit or the additional child tax credit.
When you incur eligible expenses, you simply complete your particular FSA plan’s reimbursement form and submit it—along with receipts, invoices and any other required documentation— to your plan’s processing department. You may request reimbursement for eligible expenses as soon as you incur them, even if you haven’t yet paid for the service. Reimbursement is usually made promptly via direct deposit or check. Some Medical Care FSA plans provide debit cards that can be used to pay for expenses upfront. For more information, read IRS Publication 969.
Here are some tips for deriving maximum benefit from Medical Care FSAs:
1. Sign up for the maximum Medical Care FSA benefit amount you will actually use. If you do not use your entire benefit amount during your plan year, you will lose the unused portion. Create an itemized estimate of the amount you will spend on eligible medical expenses during the plan year before deciding how much you’d like to place in your Medical Care FSA.
2. Find out what type of documentation you need for each type of claim you will be submitting for reimbursement from your Medical Care FSA. Medical Care FSA plans generally request receipts, explanation of benefits (EOB) statements and itemized statements. To obtain reimbursement for some services, some plans may require prescriptions, letters of medical necessity, confirmations of appointments or other documentation. Be sure to keep copies of all documentation for your records.
3. Request reimbursement promptly after incurring an eligible expense.
4. Use all of the funds in your Medical Care FSA during your plan year. Sphere: Related Content
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Click here to make a donation to Jennifer Ashleigh Children’s Charity. Sphere: Related Content
Donations may be made by sending a check to:
Lend A Hand Society
89 South Street, Suite 203
Boston, MA 02111 Sphere: Related Content
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Contributions can be made to The Arc of Indiana Disaster Relief Fund by mailing a check to:
The Arc of Indiana
Attention: Disaster Relief Fund
107 N. Pennsylvania Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204 Sphere: Related Content
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Stephen M. Shore has published a document about preparing people with autism and their supporters for natural disasters.
The Red Cross has prepared a booklet about disaster preparedness for people with disabilities.
Katrinadisability.info provides a collection of tips and information to prepare people with disabilities, caregivers and first responders to cope with natural disasters and other emergencies.
Family Village has compiled a list of links to hurricane relief resources for people with disabilities.
United Cerebral Palsy lists information, phone numbers and links for disaster relief assistance hotlines and organizations. Sphere: Related Content
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Financial Assistance for Families of People with Disabilities Who Have Been Affected by Hurricane Gustav and Other Natural Disasters
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides financial assistance to families that have been affected by natural disasters. FEMA provides assistance with the costs of temporary housing, home repairs, home replacement and home construction for families that have been displaced by a hurricane or other natural disaster. In addition, FEMA provides financial assistance for other necessary expenses and serious needs caused by a disaster. FEMA also provides crisis counseling, disaster unemployment assistance, legal services and information about tax breaks for families that have survived a natural disaster.
Click on the links for information about financial assistance available from FEMA or to apply for disaster-related federal financial assistance. Check out FEMA’s helpful list of resources for people who have been affected by specific disasters.
AutismCares provides up to $1,500 in assistance to families that have survived a natural disaster. Mesa Angeles Foundation provides grants and loans to families that have critical financial needs as a result of a natural disaster or other crisis. Sphere: Related Content
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