A child’s medical expenses are an important item that should be included in all discussions of child support. As with other aspects of a divorce, it is preferable for the parties to come to a mutual agreement on the issue of the child’s medical expenses. If the parties can’t agree, a judge can order either party to cover the child’s health insurance costs or unreimbursed medical expenses.
Healthcare Costs in a Child Support Order
Several different healthcare costs need to be considered in a child support agreement. First, which parent is responsible for maintaining health insurance for the benefit of the child.
If the parties agree, either parent can take on this responsibility. Typically the parent who has employer-provided health coverage or who is more easily or affordably able to include the child under their healthcare policy would take on this obligation. The other parent may cover other costs or offer to reduce the amount of other child support payments in return.
If the parties can’t come to an agreement, a court can order a parent to maintain health insurance for their child. § 50-13.11.
Unreimbursed Medical Expenses
Many medical expenses are not covered by health insurance. Many plans will not reimburse expenses until the deductible has been paid, and other services are not covered by traditional health insurance, such as dental care.
The court can also decide how these expenses will be allocated between the spouses. This is often done based on their respective incomes, but other factors could also influence this decision. Of course, the parties can come to an agreement on this issue to avoid being subject to the court’s orders.
If a parent is required to provide health insurance coverage for the child and fails to do so, that parent is responsible for all of the costs that would have been covered by health insurance. Even simple medical treatments can cost thousands of dollars, so this is a mistake that you should be careful to avoid. If you lose your health coverage due to job loss or some other reason, contact your divorce attorney to make sure you are not in violation of a court order or child support agreement.
King Law handles family law matters in North and South Carolina, including divorce, alimony, and child support cases. Follow us on Facebook for more information and updates on family law issues.