As an experienced El Paso Divorce Lawyer I have explained to clients that medical support for a child is just as important to the court as child support. In fact, the court can enforce a medical support order just as aggressively as for non-payment of child support.
In setting a “medical support order” the court will consider the cost, the accessibility and quality of health insurance coverage available to the parties and shall give priority to health insurance coverage available through the employment of one of the parties if the coverage is available at a reasonable cost to the obligor.
The court will first look to employer-provided health insurance programs for the child. If the court determines that employer provided insurance is not available to either party then the court will look at whether health insurance is available to either party from another source including a state sponsored program (CHIP or Medicaid). If either CHIP or Medicaid is obtained then the obligor will be ordered to reimburse the state for the monthly premium of that coverage. This payment could be as high as 9% of the obligor’s monthly income. This could get pricey!!
If there is no health insurance available to either party then the obligor will be ordered to pay to the obligee a cash medical support payment in addition to the court ordered child support.
This matter of health insurance needs to be addressed very early in the case. Steps must be taken as early as possible to get health insurance in place for the protection of the child.
Let’s suppose there is health insurance in place for the child. There are oftentimes uncovered expenses such as co-pays or deductibles. Usually the court will order that these costs be shared 50/50. The person paying these expenses will then need to send proof of payment of any uncovered expense to the other parent and that parent needs to reimburse 50% of the uncovered cost, usually within 30 days of receipt of the demand for reimbursement.
The State of Texas has recently amended the Family Code to include dental coverage as an additional medical expense. Dental coverage will need to be addressed with the same diligence as regular medical coverage.
If you have any questions concerning health insurance for a child Please email us directly or call us as 915-593-6600 or at 915-256-0579. We look forward to helping you in any way that we can. We have addressed health insurance for children in 1,000’s of cases.