Even families with health coverage report that it is difficult to afford the routine costs of health insurance including premiums, deductibles and other cost sharing or out of pocket expenses. Because health coverage is a significant expense, continuing a child’s health coverage is among divorcing parent’s top priorities, but what of all the miscellaneous expenses not covered by insurance?
Most children will remain on a parent’s employer sponsored health insurance plan after a divorce by court order. However, because many expenses are not covered by health insurance, an essential part of any child support order should also include terms spelling out who will pay for uninsured medical expenses.
After all, costs associated with a child’s medical treatment not covered by insurance can be very expensive. These costs may include co pays, prescriptions, deductibles and adaptive devices. There may also be costs associated with trips to the dentist or optometrist, which are often either excluded or limited on most insurance policies.
Because uninsured medical bills are significant, most states have guidelines to determine who will be responsible for paying them in a divorce. Sometimes one parent will be responsible for paying expenses over a certain amount or the parents will split the cost of uninsured medical expenses based on their respective incomes.
Practically speaking, even if a court orders both parents to share uninsured medical expenses, the parent who is taking their child to the doctor will likely incur the cost initially. Therefore it is important to retain all copies of invoices and payments to ensure the other parent reimburses their fair share of the expenses. If a parent does not pay their court ordered portion of uninsured medical expenses, the court will step in to enforce the order.
When you have questions regarding uninsured medical expenses in a divorce, or how your child’s health insurance or medical costs are handled, contact the Libertyville Illinois family law offices of Ronald L. Bell & Associates for answers at 847-495-6000.