There are numerous medical costs associated with having a child that parents often do not foresee, and many are common even during a child’s first year of life. They can come as a shock, especially to those without any health insurance, while out-of-pocket healthcare expenses even with insurance continue to rise in 2015. Moreover, for children who are either born with a chronic illness or diagnosed with one a little later in life, there will be many additional medical expenses, particularly if they require special medications or hospitalization. As parents are generally unprepared for difficult situations such as these, it can become very overwhelming both personally and financially.
Common Medical Expenses for Children
Throughout the childhood years, the costs for routine doctor visits, physical exams, immunizations, prescriptions and special testing all add up. To keep an average child healthy until age 17, it will cost approximately $18,000, and many families are faced with unexpected costs not covered by insurance, or they may have no insurance at all. There are also unexpected instances that may occur, such as surgery or an accident that requires hospitalization. Following are some of the most common medical expenses to take into consideration.
- Well Doctor Visits
It’s important that children have routine checks up several times a year, and it’s required for entrance into school as well. Without health insurance, a full year of well visits costs an average of $668 total, or just over $95 per visit, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. For patients covered by insurance, the out-of-pocket copay typically ranges from $10 to $30 per visit, depending on the insurance plan.
- Urgent Care
All parents know that children are prone to plenty of bumps and bruises. Many of these injuries can be treated with a visit to your local urgent care rather than a trip to the ER, such as cuts requiring stitches, sprains or fractures, a suspected broken bone or a minor asthma attack, to name a few. Without insurance, an urgent care visit usually ranges from $75 to $200, and with insurance it ranges from $30 to $100, depending on the co-pay. Keep in mind that additional charges will be added if a cast is required or any special medications.
- Emergency Room
If a child becomes extremely ill or is in an accident that causes injuries, a visit to the ER will be required. For a child with health insurance, the out-of-pocket copay for an ER visit is usually $50 to $150. For a child without health insurance, an ER visit typically costs from $150 to $3,000 or more, depending on the severity of the condition and any tests performed. If critical care is required or surgery is performed, the cost could reach an astonishing $20,000 or more.
Medical Expenses for Children With Chronic Illnesses
When a child is diagnosed with a chronic or life-changing illness, their families not only become overwhelmed with fear and worry about their child, but they may also struggle to pay their medical expenses. For families covered by health insurance, and especially for those without health insurance, treating their child’s illness may mean hundreds or thousands of dollars a month in out-of-pocket expenses. This can cause families an extreme amount of financial stress, where they may have to choose between paying household bills like rent, mortgage and groceries, or continuing to pay for their child’s treatment. Three of the most common chronic illnesses that affect children are cancer, diabetes and asthma.
According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, cancer remains the most common cause of death by disease for children in America, and approximately one in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday. The average cost of a hospital stay for a child with cancer is around $40,000 per stay, and hospitalizations for pediatric cancer cost almost five times as much as hospitalizations for other pediatric illnesses.
Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic childhood illnesses. Based on statistics from the American Diabetes Association, 208,000 children under age 20 have been diagnosed with diabetes, which is 0.25% of that population. Annual medical expenses for children with diabetes is six times higher than annual medical expenses for children without diabetes, as those without diabetes have annual healthcare costs of around $4,000 compared to the $15,000 in annual healthcare costs for children with diabetes.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, asthma is the leading chronic illness among children. An average of one out of every 10 school-aged children has been diagnosed with asthma, and it accounts for almost 5 million physician visits for children and more than 200,000 hospitalizations per year, making it the third-biggest cause of hospitalization for children. For a child with asthma, the cost of medical expenses can average approximately $3,200 annually.
How Crowdfunding Can Help
People everywhere are turning to crowdfunding to help ease the financial burden due to mounting medical bills, which are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S., accounting for 62 percent of all personal bankruptcies. The use of technology for fundraising nowadays has a huge impact on how quickly you can spread the word about your campaign with social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter, which will give you the best chance of gaining recognition for your fundraiser and raising donations. Check out YouCaring’s fundraising ideas on the website and below.
Fundraising Ideas to Get You Started
- Matching Donations Drive
Reach out to a local business in your city and ask if they would be willing to match the total raised on your fundraiser if you reach your goal by a specific deadline. You can then send out a mass email or do a Facebook and Twitter post to everyone in your network, encouraging them to donate. Be sure to communicate the sense of urgency in which you must reach your goal in order to receive the matched donations.
Yes, this is a pretty traditional method of fundraising. The reason walk-a-thons (and jog-a-thons, bike-a-thons, etc.) are so common is that they’re generally very successful. You can set up the walk-a-thon event and spread the word to friends, family and local businesses, asking that donations be made to your online fundraiser in order to participate, or you can ask that they pledge to donate a certain amount per mile completed.
- Art Show
Ask creative children and staff from your child’s school, along with parents, your family and your friends to contribute to your “Art Show” fundraising event. Children and adults can bring their own painting or decorative piece to be sold at the event, with all proceeds benefitting your online fundraiser. If you hold the art show at a public venue such as a local community center or event hall, you’re likely to receive additional donations or purchases of art to ensure fundraising success.
If you or a loved one needs help raising donations for child medical expenses, start a free YouCaring campaign today.