Early detection and diagnosis of autism are critical to providing families with the necessary resources to appropriately help and support their children throughout their development. however, autism screening and diagnosis can be very expensive and time consuming. informal screenings can cost between $0 and $500, while formal diagnostic tests can cost up to $5,000.
autism screening costs
Your out-of-pocket costs for autism screening can differ dramatically depending on the screening method, your insurance coverage, and the center you go to. diagnostic tools tend to be more expensive than general screening checklists and questionnaires.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be assessed with five main types of questionnaires and checklists. your primary care provider or pediatrician (pcp) can provide you with screening tools for free. In many cases, the only costs for the basic developmental screening are the copay for your doctor’s visit. if you pay with insurance and see an in-network provider, your copay will generally be $15 to $25. if you’re paying without insurance, a visit to a primary care provider will probably cost more than $100.
Based on your child’s screening results, your provider may recommend a formal autism evaluation. autism can be diagnosed with the help of 4 different diagnostic tools. these tools can be much more expensive than screening tests. These prices can range from $800 to $5,000, depending on the clinic you visit. Some clinics may accept your health insurance plan, which would pay for some or all of your tests. however, if you go to a clinic that does not accept health insurance, you will have to pay full out-of-pocket costs.
The average cost of an autism screening and full evaluation ranges from $1,000 to $2,000. Some clinics and their respective prices for autism diagnostic tests are listed below.
costs of comprehensive autism evaluations in the united states
$900 for the cheapest evaluation
$1800 for a full appraisal with report
$2700 for the most complete evaluation
$300 for banner ads
$800-1200 for diagnostic evaluation
autism screening versus autism diagnosis
An important distinction needs to be made between developmental screening tools and diagnostic tools for autism detection. the prices in the table above represent full diagnostic tests rather than developmental screening tests.
Your regular pcp or a nurse can screen you for autism at a follow-up appointment. however, screening tools do not provide a formal diagnosis of autism. instead, they tell your provider that you or your child may need a full evaluation, which can lead to a formal diagnosis of autism. Screening tests are usually done at a child’s 18-month and 24-month checkup and if a patient shows signs of autism.
The following table describes the five tools that can be used to screen for autism. These questionnaires and checklists can help indicate if you or your child needs a full evaluation for autism.
autism screening tools
Unlike a general evaluation, a full autism evaluation should be done by a trained specialist, such as a developmental pediatrician or child psychiatrist. These evaluations tend to be much more expensive than basic developmental evaluations. however, these diagnostic tests are required if you are applying for social security or disability benefits. For example, documentation of medical diagnosis and physical proof that your autism has seriously affected your ability to work is required for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The following table describes the four tests that can be used to help inform a diagnosis of autism. It’s important to talk with your provider about what tests they recommend for you or your child.