This article has been fact checked by a Board Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Sources of information for the article are listed at the bottom.
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Although cerebral palsy is a common childhood disorder, there is not enough emphasis on the high expenses associated with it. If you have a child with cerebral palsy, it is important to learn about the expenses associated with the disorder. This information can help you plan your finances appropriately.
According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the “average lifetime costs per person were estimated at $1,014,000 for persons with mental retardation, $921,000 for persons with cerebral palsy, $383,000 for persons with hearing loss, and $601,000 for persons with vision impairment.” 
What these means for parents or guardians of a child with cerebral palsy, is that they can expect around $742,326 in indirect medical costs, $93,942 in direct medical costs, and around $84,732 in direct non-medical costs.
These figures do not represent or include any out of pocket expenses that parents or guardians may pay, including lost wages, trips to the emergency room, over-the-counter medications, caregiving expenses, and more.
The above financial figures can fluctuate, depending on the severity of the child’s cerebral palsy, insurance reimbursement, and other associated conditions. Unfortunately, these costs will only increase in time.
The U.S. also pays a large amount each year in order to help people living with cerebral palsy. For example, the nation spends around $9.2 billion each year to cover expenses such as early mortality and for those with cerebral palsy who are unable to work.
Other national expenses include over $1 billion for supplying medications, hospital stays, physician visits, therapies, long-term care, and more. An additional $1.05 billion is spent on educational costs and home modification expenses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), out of all children who were enrolled in Medicaid in 2005, those with cerebral palsy required the highest expenses.  In fact, medical expenses for children with cerebral palsy are 10 times higher when compared to children without the disorder.
There are a number of medical expenses that go along with cerebral palsy, depending on the severity and the type of CP the child has. The more severe the disorder, the higher the expense. In general, cerebral palsy expenses can include:
- Payments or copayments for doctor visits
- Medication costs
- Therapy costs (which can include physical, occupational, speech, behavioral, and more)
- Surgery expenses (if applicable)
- Hospital costs
- Costs for mobility assistance equipment (walkers, wheelchairs, etc.)
- Home accommodation costs
- Lab and imaging testing costs
- Specialists expenses
Financial Assistance to Help With Cerebral Palsy Costs
There are a number of ways in which families can obtain financial assistance to help offset the overwhelming prices that come along with caring for a child with cerebral palsy. For instance, there are several types of government assistance options, insurance options, and charity organizations that can assist you and your family.
For more information, refer to our article, Cerebral Palsy Financial Assistance.
- Economic costs associated with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, and vision impairment --- United States, 2003. (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5303a4.htm
- Data and statistics for cerebral palsy. (2019, October 31). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/data.html