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Special Needs Insurance: More Stability for a Growing Family's Budget.

OBJECTIVE.—: To propose an insurance product called special needs insurance. The insurance will pay parents a lump sum up to $100,000 if they have a child that is born with or develops a special needs condition such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy or autism.

BACKGROUND.—: Raising a child is expensive; raising a child with a special need can be hundreds of thousands of dollars more expensive. These additional costs include direct costs that are not covered by health insurance and indirect costs such as the loss of earnings when a working parent must tend to a special needs child.

METHOD.—: We analyze a gamut of birth and early childhood disabilities, both physical and cognitive, from the medico-actuarial perspective. We describe each condition using relevant medical literature and calculate prevalence rates from epidemiological studies (appendix A1-A15). After accounting for multiple births, we develop a final premium.

RESULTS.—: We find that physical impairments are sufficiently well understood to guarantee a fixed payout, whereas cognitive impairments such as autism are less understood, and so for these we propose a cognitive fund that does not guarantee a fixed payout. We find that an average single premium of $4,600 allows the insurer to profitably pay out the proposed benefits.

CONCLUSIONS.—: Raising a special needs child can put a significant strain on the affected family's budget. We propose an insurance product that provides relief through a large lump sum payout. Although no new insurance product can be guaranteed success, our analysis of this product gives an interested insurer reasonable justification to take on this new risk.

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