Many parents are concerned about how filing for divorce will affect their health insurance coverage. Divorcing parents have several options when it comes to maintaining health insurance for minor children, and each one has the potential to impact child support payments and assets received in the final property settlement agreement.
How to Ensure a Child Has Health Insurance Coverage After a Divorce
Most judges presiding over divorce cases will require dependent children to carry health insurance under a parent’s plan. If neither parent has health insurance, the child may be covered under the Medicare Children's Health Insurance Program. Ex-spouses are usually given equal responsibility for a child’s medical costs regardless of custody arrangements, so the parent who provides medical benefits may be owed more in child support as a result of paying for healthcare costs.
When deciding whose plan should list the children as dependents, divorcing couples should consider:
- The custodial parent’s policy. If the child lives with the parent who provides health insurance through an employer, the non-custodial parent may be required to pay more in the form of child support payments to make up the difference.
- A non-custodial parent’s policy. If the child is covered under a non-custodial parent’s policy, the amount of child support paid to the custodial parent may be reduced unless the custodial parent also pays certain medical expenses (such as co-pays, prescription costs, and other out-of-pocket costs).
- A new plan. Spouses may opt to secure coverage for themselves and their dependent children through the Affordable Care Act or by opting-in to an employer-sponsored health insurance plan they had previously not taken advantage of. Divorce is considered a life-changing event, meaning an ex-spouse does not have to wait for an open enrollment period to obtain a new policy.
- Child support concerns. Health insurance is considered a form of child support. As a result, the parent who pays for insurance and medical expenses will be entitled to reimbursement by the other parent. Spouses may consider creative options such as splitting two or more children between parent plans, setting up a rotation for paying premiums, or relinquishing certain assets as payment toward a minor child’s medical bills.
The legal team at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can carefully examine your situation to determine the best way to provide health insurance to your children. If you need more information on divorce or have custody concerns, please get in touch with us today via our online contact form.