Who Pays Kids’ Health Insurance After a Divorce?
Since health insurance for the shared children of two separating partners involves both compensation and the health and safety of the shared children, it technically is a child support issue. That means that each of the factors involved in determining child support are at play when it comes to kids’ health insurance, plus even more, including the involvement of parties’ employers, legal requirements, and even changing legislation governing the issues. The following discusses çertain issues that are worth consideration in working through health insurance matters for the children of a divorce or separation.
First, the judge who oversees your divorce agreement will almost invariably require all of the dependent children of the separating parents to be covered under a parent plan. There are effectively no exceptions to this, as it’s considered a child welfare and safety issue as well as a legal one - the new Affordable Care Act requires children to have health insurance. After that, both parents will be required to cover co-pays and other expenses not covered by insurance. Who precisely pays for what will have to be agreed upon mutually by the separating individuals or, in the case that an agreement cannot be reached, dictated by a judge.
Either way, the decision will appear in the separation agreement and will probably be commensurate with other child support payment amounts and/or correspond to each party’s income. For instance, if you’re the custodial parent, you’ll probably need to pay a smaller quantity of the healthcare costs, factored into each party’s annual child support payments. Other issues like which parent has health insurance coverage, and what the health insurance options are available through each party’s employer or through social programs could become factors as well.
But let’s say there are complications. An agreement can’t be reached, only the non-custodial parent has health insurance, or some other obstacle exists. There are still options. The court can issue a Qualified Medical Child Support Order, which allows for the children to be covered under the noncustodial parent’s healthcare plan. The children can be covered temporarily through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. And, as a last resort, children can be covered by designated state Medicare programs, both in cases of emergency and as a social program to ensure longer term coverage.
Making arrangements to pay the myriad of bills and expenses the average family faces can be challenging, especially in the context of a divorce or separation. Working through health insurance issues in a divorce or separation can be especially thorny, and the consequences of making an error or omission in the divorce agreement can spell conflict, big bills, or, at worst, a complete lack of healthcare coverage for children down the line. The best way to represent your interests and ensure your rights are protected is to have skilled legal representation. Consider discussing your options by seeking reliable and experienced assistance. Contact an experienced Boca Raton family attorney at Schwartz l White at 561-391-9943 today for a consultation.