The average annual cost of ABA therapy
The average annual cost is $62,400 per year assuming 10 hours per week for 52 weeks at a typical rate of $120 per hour. Although it looks quite expensive, there are many ways of getting financial assistance.
Many companies can help families get insurance, a loan, or coverage for a child’s ABA therapy. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that children with autism require an additional $17,000 per year in care. For children with severe autism, it can go up to an additional $21,000. Here is a rundown of the various factors involved in the cost estimation:
- Overall healthcare cost includes visits to the pediatrician
- Education cost — educational care or afterschool programs
- Therapies for autism — ABA therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy
- Family therapy and other family services
- Additional caregivers, if required
ABA therapy options
Here are some of approaches to receive ABA therapy in America:
State-funded ABA therapy
The laws of different states mandate ABA therapy differently:
- California — California has no coverage or age limit for ABA therapy grants. It requires all insurers to provide ABA-therapy coverage. The state also provides grants to cover offset expenses of a child with autism.
- Massachusetts — Massachusetts has no coverage or age limit for ABA therapy grants. It requires all insurers to provide ABA-therapy coverage. The state also provides grants to cover offset expenses of a child with autism.
- Indiana — Indiana has special grants for ABA therapy that have no age or coverage limit. It also requires mandatory ABA therapy coverage.
- Colorado — This state requires ABA therapy coverage and mandates all insurers to cover ABA therapy costs. However, it doesn’t provide grants of offset costs for children with autism.
- Vermont — Vermont mandates coverage for children with autism until they are 21, requires ABA-therapy coverage, has no cost-of-coverage limit, and provides multiple grants for children with disabilities.
- Maryland — In Maryland, the age limit is 19 for coverage. It does require ABA-therapy coverage, has no cost-of-coverage limit, and provides multiple grants for children with disabilities.
- New Jersey — New Jersey offers coverage for children with autism until they are 21, has no limit of coverage cost, and offers multiple grants. However, this state does not mandate insurers to have ABA therapy coverage.
- Washington — Washington has no coverage or age limit for ABA therapy grants. It requires all insurers to provide ABA-therapy coverage. It does not have the offset grants to help with the overall expenses.
- New Hampshire — New Hampshire offers coverage for children with autism until they are 21. It has some restrictions based on the age of the child and offers multiple grants. But this state does not require insurers to cover ABA therapy.
- New York — ABA therapy coverage in New York has no age limit but only allows up to $45,000 in coverage costs. However, it offers multiple offset grants and requires ABA therapy coverage from insurers.
ABA therapy coverage by insurance firms
Insurance covered ABA therapy is an effective solution since, in many states, insurance companies are mandated to cover it. With insurance coverage, you will only need to pay the deductible amount for each session. For example, if your deductible amount is $50, you will only need to pay $50 instead of $120 per session.
School-funded ABA therapy
A school-funded ABA therapy means that the school will provide the funds directly. They will probably want to run an assessment — if your application is approved, they will cover 100 percent of your child’s ABA therapy expense.
The ABA therapists, in this case, can be agency staff or hired by the district to serve schools in your area. These sessions will be supervised by Board Certified Behavior Analysts or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts. A report of every individual child’s therapy will be documented via the school’s individualized education plan.
Scholarships and ABA financial assistance
Financial centers may also provide support or scholarship programs for ABA therapies. The details will depend upon the center and its policies. However, following approval, it can offer significant support and soften the financial blow — it won’t bear the full burden, but every little bit helps.
ABA through private payment
Private payment is linked to employers and work organizations that will use the child’s trust to cover a partial payment for their educational purposes. However, be sure to check the policies thoroughly because sometimes these fundings use a sliding scale. This won’t cover the full cost, but can bring it down by 80 percent of the previous total.
The contributing factors to ABA therapy cost
A child with autism needs constant support from the external community and environment in order to practice healthy emotional and physical activities. These costs can involve:
- Community care facilities, i.e., nursing services — $43,000 a year
- Daycare facilities/programs — $11,000 a year
- Out of home care — $5,000 a year
- In-home care — $3,000 a year
- Other services include crisis management, behavioral care, and home health agency services. These can cost about $14,000 a year
For ABA therapy specifically, the cost will vary accordingly with the skill, the time, and the certification of the carer or therapist.
Generally, the BCBA-D degree (Board-Certified Behavioral Analyst who has earned their PhD) is considered the highest qualification for giving ABA therapy, and BCBA (Board-Certified Behavioral Analyst) the next tier. Professionals with a BCaBA (Board-Certified Assistant Behavioral Analyst) degree charge less since they are assistants to BCBAs. These professionals mostly plan the therapy, which is done by RBTs (Registered Behavior Technicians). RBTs are supervised by BCBAs.
Furthermore, factors such as the severity of autism your child experiences and the geographical location (i.e., the demand for ABA therapy in your area) determine the overall cost of ABA therapies.
Before choosing ABA therapy, it is extremely important to look into state policies about children with disabilities, especially autism. Even if a state is on the ABA friendly list, contact the Department of Health and Human Services, work with the child’s pediatrician, or get recommendations from BCBAs and BCaBAs in the local area to assist in navigating the ABA therapy expenses. Please note that costs in this document are an average or estimation and may not reflect the true cost of ABA services or other expenses.
For personalized therapies and a devoted team of therapists to take care of your child, get in touch with Songbird. Songbird Therapy is a technology-enabled provider setting a higher standard for children’s autism care. With a deeply passionate team and innovative technology, we’re building a world where every child can access world-class care at home, uniquely tailored to them. technology-enabled provider setting a higher standard for children’s autism care.