International Meeting for Autism Research: Parent-Reported Health Care Expenditure Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders In Heilongjiang Province, P.R. China

Parent-Reported Health Care Expenditure Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders In Heilongjiang Province, P.R. China

Friday, May 13, 2011
Elizabeth Ballroom E-F and Lirenta Foyer Level 2 (Manchester Grand Hyatt)
10:00 AM
L. Wu1, J. Wang2, X. Zhou2, W. Xia2, C. Sun2 and J. Wang3, (1)157 BaoJian Rd, NanGang District, Harbin, China, (2)Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China, (3)University of Calgary, Calgary, QC, Canada

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of developmental disabilities characterized by pervasive deficits in socialization and communication, as well as unusual behaviors or interests.Presently there are no medical therapies for autism. A number of studies have shown that early diagnosis and behavioral therapy may lead to improvements in social and language skills in ASD children.In China, There are limited public rehabilitative services for autism children and there is a lack of basic descriptive data about current costs of treatments for this population and the extent to which the costs account for the household income and expenditure.


 To estimate the health expenses in the families with children suffered form autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the percentages of health service costs for ASD children in relation to household income and expenditure 


 This was a cross-sectional study. Parents with ASD children who were treated at the Children Development and Behavior Research Center (CDBRC), Harbin, P.R.China, were interviewed face-to-face (n = 290). Data on health service expenses for families with ASD children were collected. The outcome variables include annual costs for clinic visits, medicine therapies, behavioral therapies, transportation and accommodation, for ASD children and the percentages of the health-related costs in relation to household income and expenditure.


Compared to the 2007 provincial statistics, families with ASD children had a higher per-capita household expenditure from urban and from rural areas (60.8% and 74.7% respectively). The costs related to behavioral therapy accounted for the largest proportion of health expenses (54.3%) for ASD children. We also found that, in 19.9% of urban and 38.2% of rural families, health costs exceeded total annual household income. A majority of the families (89.3% of urban families and 88.1% of rural families) reported a higher proportion of health related costs in relation to overall household expenditure than provincial average.   


The economic burden is substantially higher for the family with ASD children compared with provincial average. This should be considered in developing the Chinese medical insurance system.

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