Every Massachusetts child support order includes a provision regarding health insurance. This provision, sometimes referred to as medical child support, can require a parent to provide health insurance for as long as the child is considered a dependent.
Who Pays for a Child’s Health Insurance? Typically, whichever parent was already providing health insurance for the child will be required to continue providing coverage. However, parents may change the child’s health plan by agreement. You will have to check the specifics of your plan, but most health insurance policies consider divorce to be a qualifying event. If there was no preexisting policy covering the child, the court can order a parent to purchase health insurance for the child if the parent has access to a health care plan at a reasonable cost. If a parent can enroll in a group health plan through employment, it is deemed to be at a reasonable cost.
Health insurance costs are considered when calculating Massachusetts child support. The cost actually paid for the child’s health insurance is subtracted from a parent’s gross income.
Who Pays for Uninsured Medical Costs? In addition to payment of health insurance premiums, parents will need to determine who will pay the child’s uninsured medical costs. This includes both routine costs, like co-pays and prescriptions, as well as extraordinary costs, like orthodontics. In Massachusetts, the parent who has primary physical custody will generally pay the first $250 per year in uninsured medical costs; then any amounts over $250 will be divided equally. However, parents can agree to a different arrangement. For example, all costs may be equally split, or if one parent has a higher income, it could justify unequal division of these expenses. Parents should attempt to create a thorough agreement that addresses a variety of costs and situations. At any time, a child’s medical needs can change. If you are faced with a situation where your child requires expensive or long term care, you don’t want to have to worry about how medical bills will be paid. Conversely, you may want to designate what types of medical costs are elective and reach a different arrangement for those costs; for example, glasses versus disposable daily contact lenses.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar either through email or telephone 978-844-4095 to scheduled a FREE one hour no obligation consultation to help you reach a comprehensive agreement that effectively represents your interests.