Having a child with special health care needs can affect a family’s finances, employment status, and mental health. The demands on families may require that parents cut down their work hours or give up a job, at the same time that they face burdensome out-of-pocket health care costs.

This section describes the impact that CSHCN have on their families. One way to measure this impact is in dollars, as families often have substantial out-of-pocket expenses for their children’s health care that are not covered by insurance. Parents were also asked whether their children’s conditions created a financial burden, a qualitative measure of the economic impact of having a child with special health care needs.

Another measure is the time spent by family members providing care directly or arranging for and coordinating their child’s care. The third indicator presented in this section is the number of hours parents spend per week on these tasks. Finally, parents were asked whether their children’s needs had required them to cut down on work or stop working altogether to care for their child, or whether they had avoided changing jobs to preserve their child’s health insurance.

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