Children with special health care needs: Impact of health care expenditures on family financial burden

J Child Fam Stud. 2010 Feb;19(1):79-89. doi: 10.1007/s10826-009-9286-6.


We investigated the relationship between health care expenditures for Special Health Care Needs (SHCN) children and family perception of financial burden. Using 2005/2006 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs data, a multivariate logistic regression model was used to estimate the relationship between the SHCN child's health care expenditure and perceived financial burden, while controlling for family and child characteristics. Our analysis suggests that health care expenditures for a SHCN child of $250 and more are associated with family perception of financial burden. In addition, families with lower socioeconomic status also perceived financial burden at lower level of expenditures. Members of the health care team who treat children with SHCN have an important role in understanding and assessing family financial burden as part of the care delivery to the child and the family. Our study reinforces the need to treat the whole family as the unit of care, especially when caring for children with special health care needs.