Can schools require the parents to pay for assistive technology device(s) or service(s) identified in the student's IEP or require the parents to use their own private health insurance to pay for the device and/or service?
The "free" in "Free Appropriate Public Education" is significant regarding students with disabilities who may require assistive technology devices or services. As stated in IDEA and its regulations, all special education and related services identified in the student's IEP must be provided "at no cost to the parents." The term "free" is interpreted broadly and goes far beyond the simple paying of deductibles and co-payment. The courts have interpreted "free" to apply to but not be limited to future insurability, depletion of maximum lifetime caps, raised premiums, discontinuation of policies, and pre-existing condition exclusions. Parents' health insurance and/or Medicaid may be used to pay for assistive technology devices and services. However, parents must give permission to use their private insurance and Medicaid.