Breaking the Link Between Special Health Care Needs and Financial Hardship

Having health insurance doesn’t automatically protect families of children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) from financial hardship. In the first edition of Breaking the Link, produced in 2009, the Catalyst Center identified three pathways that lead to financial hardship and medical debt, with examples from the lives of real families. In the second edition, produced in 2017, we revisit the impact that health care financing and coverage gaps have on the lives of real families and highlight innovative policy solutions that can improve the system of care for CYSHCN.

Slides from the accompanying webinar that took place on April 26, 2017 are also available.

Relief Funds: A Safety Net for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs

Relief Funds pay for services families incur for their children and youth with special health care needs/disabilities that are not covered by private insurance, Medicaid, or any other public or private programs. Relief Funds function as a payer of last resort for families who struggle financially to meet the health care needs of their children and can help relief family financial hardship.

Reducing Under-Insurance for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs

This Catalyst Center policy brief provides information about Medicaid Buy-In Programs including what they are, how they work, how they help both families raising Children & Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN)/disabilities and the states. Learn about existing Medicaid Buy-in programs in three states. 

A Call to Action for Social Work: Minimizing Financial Hardship for Families of Children with Special Health Care Needs

Families face significant challenges in caring for their CSHCN. For many families, one of these challenges is the economic impact of inadequate health care coverage. Families must make hard choices about how to spend limited salaries and then make substantial sacrifices in other domains to ensure adequate care for their children. But for other families, the resources to pay for care are simply not there. Children and youths who are uninsured or whose insurance does not pay for critical components of care may experience adverse outcomes in relation to health, development, and capacity to function because their families just cannot afford to pay for vitally needed care.