If you’re the parent of a special needs child, you know that there can be a lot of extra expenses involved in their care – everything from additional childcare to extra therapy, specialized equipment and more.
However, one thing you shouldn’t have to pay for is diapers.
Many kids with special needs wear diapers long after other kids do, whether they are in a wheelchair or can’t get to the bathroom on their own, or they have cognitive issues that make it difficult for them to become potty trained.
For example, children on the autism spectrum often are late in getting potty trained because changing their routines can be very difficult, meaning that some children with autism can be in diapers from age 3 all the way through the teen years and beyond, depending on the child.
And buying big-kid-sized diapers every single day can become extremely costly.
Luckily, children with autism, as well as Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy and a host of other disabilities, can usually receive free diapers through Medicaid, as long as you have a prescription or a letter from your child’s doctor saying that the diapers are medically necessary.
And what’s even better is the process of getting the diapers delivered directly to your door is super easy.
How to know if your special needs child qualifies for free diapers
Here are the typical requirements to qualify for free diapers if your child as special needs:
- Your child must be age 4 or older and have incontinence or not be potty trained due to an underlying medical condition such as autism, Down syndrome, etc.
- You must have a letter of medical necessity or a prescription for your pediatrician.
- You must have an accurate record of diagnostic information pertaining to the underlying condition, as well as any other medical diagnoses.
- Must have the number of times per day your child’s pediatrician has ordered the incontinence supplies to be used.
- Must have the number of disposable incontinence supplies requested per month.
- If your pediatrician updates your child’s clinical notes to allow you to receive up to 12 months of diapers at a time, you can have all of the diapers delivered at once.
Once you have that information, just call us or another medical supply provider and we can contact your insurance company for you. Then the products can simply be shipped to you, free of charge.
What to Do If Your Special Needs Child Has Private Insurance
If you don’t qualify for Medicaid and have private insurance instead, you may also be able to have the diapers for your special needs child diapers covered under your insurance plan, but the coverage can vary greatly depending on what type of plan you have, and some plans won’t cover incontinence products at all.
To find out if they’re covered, the easiest thing to do is call us and we can contact your insurance company for you. Often times, private insurance may initially deny a claim for incontinence products, but then will cover it once they have the correct diagnostic code.
How to Find the Right Kind of Incontinence Products for Kids with Special Needs
Unfortunately, once your kid has aged out of the regular diapers available in the grocery store, it isn’t always easy to find big-kid-sized diapers. One way to do it is to change the word “diaper” to “incontinence products” in your search.
If you get the diapers for free through Medicaid or your insurance, you may only get to choose from certain brands that are covered. However, you may be able to qualify for other types of incontinence products in addition to diapers, depending on what your doctor indicates in the prescription.
Here are a few of the things you may be able to get for free, if you need them:
- Diapers/Briefs – Diapers (which are usually referred to as briefs once kids are beyond the toddler stage), have tab closures. That means you can change your child without having to take their pants completely off. These are best for young children, children in wheelchairs or children with limited mobility.
If you’re looking for products on your own, Seventh Generation makes diapers that fit kids up to 35 pounds, and Pampers Cruisers can fit kids up to 41 pounds. Tranquility All Through the Night Disposable Briefs are labeled for adults, but the x-small size can fit kids as small as 60 pounds. Once your child is about 58 inches tall and has a waist size of at least 20 inches (roughly around age 11 or 12), he or she should be able to start wear most adult diapers in the smallest size, such as these Medline Adult FitRight Extra Incontinence Briefs.
- Pull-Ups – Unlike diapers, pull-ups don’t have fasteners on the side. Instead, they are disposable underwear that has elastic around the waist and legs to make it easy to pull on or off. They are better for older or more mobile children. Medline’s Youth Underware fits kids as small as 40 pounds, which is the average weight of a 4 year old, and CardinalHealth’s Curity Youth Pants fit kids as small as 38 pounds.
- Underpads – Underpads are used to protect mattresses, beds, car seats or other types of furniture from leaks. They are disposable, so if they get wet, just throw them in trash.
- Disposable Wipes – Disposable wipes are moist towels that can be helpful in cleaning up your child. These from FitRight have a touch of aloe to make it more soothing on your child’s skin.
If you find out your plan doesn’t cover youth diapers, one way to save money on them is to buy in bulk or set up a Flexible Spending Account, which are special, tax-free accounts that you can put money into to pay for medical expenses. The diapers won’t be free, but at least you’ll be able to save up to 30% on them by not having to pay taxes!