How Much Does ABA Therapy Cost?

Are you wondering, “how much does ABA therapy cost?” Keep reading to find average ABA therapy costs per year, month, and hour.

steven zauderer
Steven Zauderer
August 16th, 2022

Key Takeaways

  1. ABA therapy costs $62,400 to $249,600 per year without insurance coverage.
  2. The monthly costs for ABA therapy can range from $4,800 to over $20,000 per month without insurance coverage.
  3. Weekly costs for ABA therapy start at $1,200, and can go up to $4,800 without insurance coverage.
  4. ABA therapy can cost from $240 to $600 per day without insurance coverage.
  5. The typical ABA session costs approximately $120 to $150 per hour.

The costs of ABA therapy vary somewhat based on your location, insurance plan, the cost of living in the area as well as the provider’s certification level, education, and experience.

In general, ABA therapy costs around $120 for a one-hour session. At first glance this sounds expensive for the average family, but keep in mind that most insurance plans will cover this therapy.

Therefore, the cost can largely be decreased by insurance coverage.

This means your out-of-pocket expenses will be significantly reduced.

Speak with your ABA therapist and insurance provider to get an exact amount that you’ll be expected to pay for ABA therapy sessions.

Below are the average ABA therapy costs according to the most recent data estimates.

Keep in mind that the costs do fluctuate and are subject to change from the factors mentioned above.

TimeCost
Per Year$62,400 to $249,600
Per Month$4,800 to over $20,000
Per Week$1,200 to $4,800
Per Day$240 to $600
Per Hour$120 to $150

Per Year

The costs of ABA treatment for one year range from $62,400 at its lowest estimate, with 10 hours of therapy per week.

For 20 hours of therapy per week, it costs $124,000 annually. And for full-time therapy seven days a week, the treatment would cost $249,600 per year.

aba therapy cost per year

The yearly costs of ABA therapy can reveal the long-term costs that parents would pay for the treatments for their child.

The total can be high but is considerably reduced after insurance covers their share.

For many parents, ABA therapy won’t last a full year, with many programs giving children the results they want after only a couple of months have passed.

But there are cases where treatment can go on for much longer than expected, particularly for kids showing the most severe cases of autism.

There’s no way to tell how long therapy will last until an evaluation can be assessed with clients.

Read more: ABA Therapy Horror Stories

Per Month

The monthly costs for ABA therapy start at $4,800, and can reach over $20,000 per month.

aba therapy cost per month

These are the average ABA therapy costs that families should know about.

They’re within a realistic range of what would be paid, though not all out of pocket. That would depend on the insurance policy of the family.

But the assumption is that a child’s therapy costs would be fully covered, or require a payment that’s within range of a family’s budget.

For anyone with spectrum-diagnosed children, a local pediatrician or ABA technician can answer questions regarding costs as they currently are listed within a local area.

Sometimes, the price may go up or down on a month-by-month basis. Getting in touch with the right people can pinpoint what you’ll have to pay.

Per Week

Weekly costs for ABA therapy start at $1,200, and can go up to $4,800.

aba therapy cost per week

Weekly pay for the treatment, though important for prescribed autistic patients, could be important for parents with autistic kids and other spectrum disorders.

Not every related disorder is covered the same, with only limited but effective treatment over a short duration being possible.

When this happens, ABA therapy may last for less than a month. But strong evidence shows that even a couple of weeks could be enough to see lasting changes in a child’s behavior.

Such a period could also give parents the time that they need to gain knowledge of some of the practices done during ABA sessions, which no doubt are encouraged by home and clinic-based technicians.

Per Day

Based on the hours that the therapy is in session, ABA therapy can cost from $240 to $600 per day, on average.

aba therapy cost per day

When looking into a day’s worth of ABA sessions, it can change according to the hours.

Unless there’s a set schedule for when the child will receive treatment every week, there’s no way to tell with certainty what the costs will be when the days of the week are tallied up.

Sometimes, the price that you would pay for a day’s worth of therapy could be higher than the costs for a week of the same thing, even in the same state or region.

Therefore, the best way to add up such prices is to ask ABA specialists or a pediatrician capable of getting you in touch with one.

Per Hour

The typical ABA session costs approximately $120 to $150 per hour.

aba therapy cost per hour

Hourly rates for sessions usually fluctuate more than others, particularly for clients that don’t plan on pursuing long-term sessions for a child. There’s no set price for the hour, though the figure shown above is average.

Like the monthly and yearly rates specified, every hour can change after additional fees are applied to the course.

Other expenses like food, travel, and merchandise used for every session may take the per hour rate to double the average.

The longer the therapy lasts for a day, the higher the chance becomes of not needing to go through with it for stretches that go on for months. Again, no two children are the same, so there are exceptions.

Contributing factors

Including costs, every ABA therapy session that takes place can be altered by numerous factors. Here are some of them.

  • How severe a child’s autism is and whether care is urgently needed
  • The location of the treatment center and how great the demand is for the company being sought out by clients
  • The number of hours needed per week. The average is between 10 and 20 every seven days for the average patient
  • The experience of the ABA technicians and the rates that they change per client
  • The time length that an autistic child is needed with an ABA specialist over months or even years
  • Where the therapy sessions will take place at home, school, a clinic, or elsewhere

When these factors are considered, parents and guardians can better figure out the total costs of their treatment.

But to multiply the hours of session over a month by the hourly price shown previously probably won’t give the exact total of what will be paid.

The Most Supportive States for ABA Treatment

The states that provide the best payment assistance and insurance policies for clients are numerous.

However, there are states where parents are more likely to find institutions willing to assist in their payment responsibilities, either from nonprofits or government assistance.

Here are the states as follows:

  • California – California doesn’t limit the age of who is or isn’t covered under insurance for ABA therapy. Every health insurance provider must pay for the costs of treatment. Additionally, California has lots of grants that can help with additional fees related to the treatment.
  • Massachusetts – Residents of Massachusetts can get help for the full price of the treatment and has benefits that rival California.
  • Indiana – For people in Indiana, the state government can issue grants to help with therapy for people with autism. However, there are no grants provided to help with what’s paid out of pocket after insurance covers the majority.
  • Colorado – Colorado has no age cap for people needing insurance for ABA treatment.
  • Vermont – It’s easy to get coverage for people in Vermont, with treatment options that’ll pay for young children until they reach the age of 21. By law, there aren’t any limits for how much of the price can be covered by insurers, with plenty of grants available for any that are eligible.
  • Maryland – Kids in Maryland can have their autism paid for until they’re 19 years old. Aside from the age difference in when coverage lasts, Most of the benefits are identical to what’s provided for Vermont residents.
  • New Jersey – In a similar policy to Vermont, young people with autism are given help for their treatment until they reach 21. There’s no cap on what can be covered and the state has loads of grants for financial help with spectrum diagnosed patients.
  • Washington – Washington has no age limit for who gets financial help for treatment, but no grants are provided by the state.
  • New Hampshire – Children in the state are assisted throughout their childhood up until they reach 21. There are limitations on the kind of coverage that’s available for specific ages but grants can pay for the rest of what isn’t at the expense of insurers. Unfortunately, New Hampshire doesn’t mandate that health insurers feature ABA coverage until their insurance policies.
  • New York – Every autistic diagnosis in New York can be covered, there’s no age cap. However, coverage is limited to $45,000. This can be offset by ABA applicable grants.

Regardless of if you’re in the state named, your local health department can assist in the treatment of autistic children by getting in touch with local pediatricians and others that work closely with special needs kids.

Every state has a behavior analysis association and a board that can guide to getting help for spectrum-related help for people young and old.

How to Approach and Fund ABA Therapy

Based on the information provided by the CDC, the funds needed for an autistic child range from $17,000 and $21,000 every year.

This is considering proper care, meaning the amount of time required for their disorder to be mitigated through therapy.

The price differs from other children with spectrum disorders. It’s for appointments and other care associated with treatment.

It’s an expensive amount but given the right information, the price can be paid for through insurers, nonprofits, and state-sponsored grants.

State-funded ABA Therapy Funding

For parents seeking help for their autistic kids, state-funded therapy isn’t preferred unless all other options for getting them help have been exhausted.

The average state has therapy dealing with a host of patients on the spectrum.

The kind of help given and the nature of the therapy makes such efforts avoided by many parents. Here are states with their funded ABA-related programs:

  • Colorado – Mandates that insurance companies cover all ages
  • California – Gives funding via grants, with no limits on who’s eligible
  • Indiana – Grants are given by the state to help with ABA treatment
  • New Jersey – Multiple grants for ABA therapy to help with co-pay
  • New York – Will fund therapy expenses for anyone with autism, no matter what their age is
  • Vermont – Funding for kids until their 21st birthday. It will help cover costs regardless of how many sessions are needed

ABA Therapy Funded by Insurance Companies

This is the most commonly sought way to pay for the high costs of ABA therapy. When going this route, you will get either full or limited coverage.

When coverage is limited you’ll be required to help with a deductible, or the amount that’s left after the policy pays for your child’s therapy expenses.

For example, if your deductible for a session is $300, this is what you’ll need to cover in prices.

As previously stated, this can be offset with grants given out by the government, though not all states have such benefits.

School-funded ABA Therapy

Not all ABA therapy comes from private clinics or hospitals. Your school may have a program specifically for this, given to autistic kids within the district.

The head of the school may wish to evaluate your child to see if they’re eligible. After that, their therapy costs could be covered up to 100%.

In a situation where the school would conduct and pay for ABA therapy sessions, they may hire technicians in the profession that are certified and have experience in dealing with behavior therapy for kids.

A behavior analyst will oversee the therapy when this happens and results are reported to staff and parents.

ABA Financial Assistance and Scholarships

Some ABA centers give financial assistance to spectrum-related disorders all the time, autism included.

Much of the payment that’s given can change with every individual, or even the financial center offering their services. But overall, monetary support is high.

Money is given through scholarships, helping to fund treatment when help is needed.

It might not pay for the full costs of ABA therapy but will certainly take a large percentage out of the total price.

ABA Therapy Through Private Payment

Private companies are sometimes willing to pay for ABA treatment for their employee’s children. It might be only partially covered.

Most people with these options will know about it before going into treatment since employers are mandated to tell workers what they’re covered and whether or not financial assistance is possible to receive for kids.

Still, it’s a good idea to ask employers. When given, the amount could factor in the amount of household income that’s earned by employers.

ABA Therapy Cost FAQs

Here are common questions posted concerning the prices of ABA treatment.

How much does insurance pay for ABA therapy?

Insurance will cover a majority of the price that you pay for ABA.

The nature of health insurance can make it a bit frustrating when trying to tally up how much will be paid out of pocket.

However, the average state mandates that insurance companies cover ABA therapy costs, at least some of them.

The treatments themselves must be fact-based and reputable.

But insurers are greatly reducing the exorbitant prices of ABA therapy to an amount that’s affordable to the average parent.

The kind of insurance you have can determine how much the overall costs for your child’s therapy will be.

Some insurance plans are given out by the government for civil service and federal employers, a good option to help pay for what health insurance won’t.

How much does ABA therapy cost without insurance?

With no insurance, you’ll pay about $120 every hour during a day’s session.

The price that you pay can change based on where you live.

For example, a person without health insurance would probably pay more in a state that doesn’t have as many benefits for ABA therapy than, say, California or Vermont.

In the average state, there are laws in place requiring that all health insurance companies cover the treatment of autism.

There could be added treatment for special needs patients, especially children, that are mandated by law.

How much does ABA therapy cost with insurance?

ABA therapy will cost significantly less than it potentially would without health insurance.

But insurance doesn’t guarantee that all prices will be paid for.

Some out-of-pocket expenses should be expected unless otherwise noted as a non-issue in the coverage of your child’s provider.

Is ABA therapy worth the cost?

Though it may not seem like it from the onset, ABA therapy is definitely worth the costs, with numerous studies showing it to be a provable way to improve the behavior and learning ability of autistic people at every age level.

Since autism doesn’t have a cure, treatment must be given as early as possible to help mitigate problematic behavior. To do this requires the ability of autistic people to receive care through financial means.

So long as these are met, the treatment will likely be a success.

And when the benefits given to parents for paying for this child’s treatment are considered, There’s little debate over how ABA therapy wouldn’t be worth the cost.

How do people afford ABA therapy?

Most people don’t pay for ABA therapy in full, so it’s afforded by the use of grants, healthcare coverage, or other related means of assistance.

Wherever ABA therapy is provided, there are programs in place at some level that can help parents cover the financial burden of treating their child.

The best part is that most therapy sessions don’t go on for as long as anticipated.

But for most, payments are covered by health providers, nonprofit organizations, and grants set up by state governments or funding sent to local school districts.

Is ABA cost effective?

In short, yes, ABA is very cost-effective. The prices for not treating autism could be higher than mitigating the issue.

Children are more prone to getting treatment that results in positive behavioral changes in them as they get older.

Without this, they could end up with trouble making friends, which in turn could develop into more antisocial behavior that sees them missing time in school due to trouble with teachers and other students.

Many autistic kids that never undergo treatment are at a higher risk for problems involving bullying, low-grade point averages, and bad conduct.

The overall savings for a child that does undergo ABA treatment is listed at over $1.5 million.

Why is ABA therapy so expensive?

As an analysis of behavior, ABA therapy requires highly skilled people to conduct therapy sessions with children.

The nature of the work they do is highly intensive, done multiple days throughout the week up until the child’s behavior is successfully improved.

Due to the time constraints, the costs of paying employees, and the very personal nature that behavior analysts bring to the work they do, therapy costs for a clinic can go up to $60,000 a year for every employee.

Summary

ABA therapy is no longer unattainable by those that can pay for it without insurance. There are numerous options for assistance for people to seek out, many of which are dictated by state governments around the US.

Even in states where there isn’t a large amount of state-sponsored benefits for autistic children, it’s still possible to find plenty of nonprofits or insurance companies that’ll cover most of the expenses for ABA therapy.

ABA therapy programs help autistic children grow into their adolescence with the basic skills needed to socialize and perform tasks without their autism diagnosis getting in the way. For that reason, ABA therapy is highly recommended to parents with kids that are on the spectrum.

References

steven zauderer

CEO of CrossRiverTherapy - a national ABA therapy company based in the USA.

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