Paying For It

Since the school system seems disinclined to provide the Monster with all of the care that we think he needs, we’ve decided to take the “logical” step and get him some outside therapy.  Yesterday was his first trip to a local private provider for supplemental occupational and speech therapy.

As I’ve mentioned before – the school provides him with three speech therapy appointments a week and one OT.  However, the OT was recently reduced from 45 minutes to 30 (though from a push-in to a pull-out appointment) and the speech is two pull-out small group, one push-in per week.  And we think he needs more individual attention than that.

On one hand, I really shouldn’t complain too much.  I’m very, very fortunate to have a job that has absolutely wonderful health insurance.  To wit – it’s gotten even better this year, since the ceiling for speech therapy was lifted from sixty to one hundred speech therapy appointments specifically for developmental delay.  (OT is still limited at twenty five, and we’ll cope with that.)  In theory, in other words, we could take him twice a week for supplemental speech if we felt it would help, and have it covered.

On the other hand, we have a CDHP plan… which means we’re paying through the nose until we get to our deductible.  Yes, I’m aware that I’m almost certainly paying less than I would have been if I didn’t have insurance, and that on some level, I feel really bad about being upset about the cost.  The fact is that we worked the numbers before the new plan year – it’s still the cheapest option that’s afforded us, given the difference in the amount taken out of my paycheck – and it’s still backbreakingly expensive, more so when you factor in having to pay for the therapy essentially out-of-pocket for a few months (plus whatever overages we end up with the OT when that coverage runs out, which should be months still before the new plan year, when we start the cycle over).

What’s really killing me is the “tax reform” that’s paying for trying to balance the budget a little better.

I’m not going to apologize for being well-paid.  We’re hardly  HENRYs (high-earning, not rich yet), nor are we in the bracket that’s being absolutely bent over by the reforms.  However, the floor for medical deduction on income taxes is being raised this year from 7.5% to 10%… and that’s asking a lot of citizens with children with Autism like us.  Let me be blunt about it: we actually cannot literally have enough medical expenses to reach the floor.  It is impossible.  Barring something catastrophic (meaning, really, Blue Cross dropping us), our expenses are going to be capped before we reach that tax-deduction point, and it’s going to eat a huge-and-growing hole in our savings each year.

I’ve heard a lot of talk about how much Autism costs each year, how much it will cost when it’s not treated, when the 1-in-88 (or 50, depending on which statistics you’re using) are suddenly adults and a great many are on some kind of social assistance… and it absolutely burns me up, to see how we’re all being left absolutely on the hook for it.

It’s not an unwillingness to pay for it – I certainly recognize that we can pay for the Monster’s treatment – and I’m not asking for social assistance to step in.  I just wish that the government wouldn’t make it increasingly difficult to afford doing something that reduces their burden, both now and later.

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