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The healthcare costs of caring for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder: a population-based analysis


Purpose — Population-based data are required to obtain a comprehensive estimate of the healthcare costs associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to ensure scarce resources are distributed equitably. Moreover, it is important to understand how the healthcare costs associated with ASD have changed over time.

Methods — Using health records from Ontario, Canada, this analysis estimated the prevalence-based healthcare costs associated with ASD among children and adolescents in 2015, overall, by sex and age group, compared to a random sample of children and adolescents without ASD, and examined how these costs changed from 2015 to 2021.

Results — Children and adolescents with ASD had mean healthcare costs of $3003.65, 95% CI [$2870.38-$3136.92], while those without ASD had mean healthcare costs of $814.74, 95% CI [$772.83-$856.64]. Costs were mostly due to home care and physician services, were higher for females, and increased with age. Total mean costs were relatively stable from 2015 to 2019 at about $3000 but then decreased to $2597.53 in 2020 and increased to $2723.61 in 2021.

Conclusion — These estimates will be important for decision makers to inform resource allocation and may serve as useful inputs for future economic evaluations of ASD-related healthcare interventions.



de Oliveira C, Tanner B. Res Autism Spectr Disord. 2023; 108:102255. Epub 2023 Sep 28.

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