General Requirements For Providing Health Insurance For Children
If parents cannot agree to healthcare terms, a family law court official will help by taking lead and develop a plan by reviewing financial records that match each parents ability to pay based on what is in best interest of children.
Since both the State of North Carolina and the Federal Government both require health coverage on children, the parent claiming the child on their taxes will be required to show proof of the childs health coverage.
Our California Family Law Lawyers Can Help You
After a divorce, parents ensure their children are covered by health insurance under California Family Code Section 3751.
The family law court will typically issue an order that includes the keep the enforcement agency informed on whether the child has health insurance.
Health insurance for a child has to be obtained by one or both parents and is usually available at a reasonable cost. Family Code 3751 further states that if the cost of health insurance is not greater than 5% of a parent’s income, it’s presumed affordable.
If you have issues determining which parent is responsible for health insurance in a child custody plan, you can contact our family law lawyers to review the details.
California laws dictate who is responsible for health insure children’s health insurance and medical bills.
Furman & Zavatsky have highly experienced Los Angeles divorce and family law attorneys located in the San Fernando Valley at 17207 Ventura Blvd. #2 Encino, CA 91316. Contact our firm for a free case evaluation at 528-3471.
Negotiations Regarding Health Insurance Coverage For Biological Children
When it comes to health insurance coverage for your children, you will want to make sure that you focus on this subject during the negotiation phase of your case. Keep in mind that most divorces in Texas never see the inside of a courtroom, and as a result, you cannot rely on a judge to keep this issue in mind. You and your spouse will need to devote some time to this subject. If you have specific concerns related to medical care and health insurance, you should make those concerns known to your attorney at the outset of your case.
You and your spouse have options in front of you to ensure that there are no gaps in coverage during this transition phase between marriage and divorce. It would help determine which one will be responsible for providing health insurance for the kids after the divorce. Depending upon which one of you has health insurance as a workplace benefit coverage for kids could be something that continues through the same parent after the divorce.
If you and your spouse have health insurance provided through your employers, you all will have less to negotiate about. This is an ideal situation because there is no way that your children will go uncovered. The cost of maintaining coverage will be relatively low due to your employer picking up costs associated with the health insurance coverage. At that point, it is a decision between the two of you as to which plan will cost less money.
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What Is The Responsibility Of Each Parent
In most cases, The court will determine which parent must provide coverage and which parent must contribute a monthly payment toward the premium. If both parents have health insurance coverage available, and if the coverage is accessible to the child, the court can order the parent with the better health insurance coverage to provide it for the child and order the other parent to contribute a monthly payment toward the premium.
A parents monthly payment toward the premium is usually limited to twenty-five percent of that parents basic child support obligation unless the court determines it is in the best interests of the child to order a parent to provide coverage that exceeds twenty-five percent. Under appropriate circumstances, the court may excuse one parent from the responsibility to provide health insurance coverage or from a monthly payment toward the premium. However, the court will always require both parents to contribute their proportionate share of the cost of uninsured medical expenses.
Can I Tap Into My Spouses Healthcare Resources In Other Ways
Yes. To qualify for Medicare, you must work at least ten years by age 65. If you do not have ten years of work history, but you were married for at least ten years to someone who does qualify for Medicare, you may still qualify through your former spouses benefits.
Some conditions that must be met for qualification:
- You must be unmarried
- If you were not married for at least ten years, you would need to have been married for at least one year before the date of your spouses death
- You need to be 62 years old or older
- Your former spouse must be entitled to Social Security retirement or Disability Benefits
- Your entitled benefit is less than that of your former spouses benefit.
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Who Will Pay For My Childs Health Insurance In A Divorce
While there are several ramifications that can follow as a result of getting a divorce, losing your health insurance is a result that many people dont consider. Because health insurance is such a valuable necessity, especially when one spouse has a serious health condition, some couples try to avoid divorce and opt for a legal separation. Couples contemplating either divorce or separation need to notify their insurance companies within a specific amount of time. Failure to provide notification of a divorce or separation may be considered insurance fraud. In the event of a divorce, women have a higher chance of losing health insurance coverage and then remaining uninsured for years after the divorce.
Provisions for health insurance are governed by federal and state law, as well as the parties settlement agreement. Under a settlement agreement, one spouse may be required to cover the others health insurance costs. The agreement may specify a time limit, or may indicate coverage for the spouses entire life. Settlement agreements also state who will pay for insurance coverage for any children. The parties may decide the children will be covered under a parents employee group plan, or that one parent will get private insurance. The parents may agree that one will cover 100 percent of the cost, or they may share costs in proportion to their incomes.
Attorney Dustin McCrary
What If Neither Parent Has Access To Reasonably Priced Insurance
If health insurance is not available for either parent, the child support order will include a provision requiring each parent to obtain health insurance if circumstances change and health coverage becomes available. When health insurance is available at a reasonable cost, a parent who does not cover the child can be held in violation of the court order.
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Court Ordered Health Insurance After Divorce In Washington
In Washington State, after a divorce, an ex-spouse is no longer eligible for coverage on the other partys health insurance plan. However, divorcees are entitled by federal law to continue receiving health coverage under COBRA for a maximum of 36 months. But, ones plan will change from family to individual and the rate might go up. COBRA benefits are meant to be temporary, and an ex-spouse should look into other health insurance options immediately.
Sometimes, a spouse making payments for spousal maintenance might be mandated to provide medical coverage for the former spouse.
During divorce proceedings in court, when couples are crafting terms of insurance, its essential to consider contingencies. That may include how much one spouse must pay toward the other partys premiums, and for how long theyll pay. Moreover, its essential to address wholl be responsible for paying higher premiums should the issue arise. Planning for unemployment, occupational changes, and the change of insurers is also important.
However, a change can happen that would necessitate amending a court order or settlement. That may be done with the consent of both spouses. But if they cant agree, they can file a court order and present the matter in front of a judge.
Can My Stepchildren Remain On My Health Insurance After A Divorce
In this day and age of families that come in all shapes and sizes, a question that I have received multiple times from clients relates to how a stepchild can remain on their medical insurance after divorce. This is an important topic as it relates to both stepchildren and biological children alike. Amid a divorce case, this issue can get set on the backburner and not thought about all that often. However, if something happens to your child who requires medical care, you will want to make sure that health insurance coverage is in place. If not, a bad situation could become a horrible situation.
Lets assume that you and your spouse are getting a divorce. The reality of that situation is that you will be living in one home after the divorce, and your spouse will be living in another. Any children that you had out of your marriage will be splitting time between those two homes. Your spouses children from a prior marriage or relationship will not have visitation with you since you are not a biological/legal parent. Nonetheless, if your stepchildren depended upon you for health insurance coverage, then they may be put into a dangerous situation by not having health insurance coverage.
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Health Insurance Divorce And Children
As part of the child support agreement, youll be identifying who is covering health insurance for your child or children. Bear in mind that it could reduce the amount of child support paid. For example, if you are awarded child support, but your children are covered for health insurance under your ex-spouses plan, the payments your ex is making for health insurance reduces the amount paid to you for child support.
Also, its important to note that child support only goes until the child is 18 or has graduated high school, depending on the specific laws in your state.
Now, from the side of the health insurance company, a child can be covered until theyre 26. After child support obligations are complete , the parent can, at any time, take their kid off their insurance. So, if that parent hasnt made a legal commitment to continue to support their child with health insurance, suddenly, that child is without it.
With that being said, this is obviously a gray area. There are eight years after child support ends that a dependent can be on their parents health insurance plan.
At that point, you as a co-parents have to make some decisions. When do you, the parent, stop being financially responsible for your child? Some parents believe its forever, others believe its when your kids turn 18. People who are married disagree on this, so certainly people who are divorced will, too!
What To Do If You Need New Health Insurance
If you will no longer receive health insurance benefits after your marriage ends, you need to come up with a new health insurance option. For working individuals, the simplest option would be to seek coverage through their employer, if available. The health insurance coverage might not cover all costs, but it will likely be cheaper than finding an individual health insurance plan.
Finding a separate plan is an option. This can allow you several health coverage choices, but the cost can be higher, and the plans may be more selective. For example, you might choose to pay a lower premium for insurance that covers catastrophic accidents, or you could choose to have more coverage at a higher cost.
Applying for COBRA benefits is another option. As a federal law, it allows people to retain health coverage when lifes circumstances change suddenly, making it ideal for many people after divorce. If you can afford to pay the premiums on the existing plan you share with your spouse, you can maintain the same coverage for up to three years. This allows you plenty of time to find an alternative once those three years are up.
Health coverage can be extremely expensive, even if you do attempt to find the cheapest plans with minimal coverage. If you find yourself without affordable options, discuss your concerns with your attorney. In some cases, it is possible to request a special allowance in your spousal support or alimony payments to specifically pay for your health insurance.
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Life Insurance Considerations For Divorcees
For many divorcing parents with minor children, life insurance is also an important consideration. A parent might be required to maintain life insurance on the children, as well as the spouse.
As an example, McGinnis mentions a mother who has custody of two children and receives child support and alimony. If the court says she’s to receive $1,000 a month in child support for 10 years, or $120,000, and another $1,000 a month in alimony for five years, or $60,000, Dad must maintain life insurance to cover his outstanding obligations. In this case, that would total $180,000.
Each year, the amount of life insurance that’s required is adjusted downward to remain in line with Dad’s current financial obligations, McGinnis says.
Another issue to settle is who will be the beneficiary on any existing life insurance policies you had prior to the split. No matter what you put in a will, your life insurance policy will pay out to the beneficiary named if you don’t change it after a divorce.
Some divorced couples who have children together keep their exes as the beneficiary for the benefit of the kids. If you’re not comfortable with this arrangement, you can set up a trust for the benefit of the children and name it as beneficiary of the life insurance policy.
Work with an attorney and contact your life insurance company when you’re ready to change the beneficiary. Another tip: don’t forget to make changes on all your policies, including group life insurance you may have through work.
What Is A Medicaid Divorce
When planning for retirement, many couples realize they may make too much each month to qualify for nursing home assistance.
To get around this, some couples resort to what is known as a Medicaid divorce. This is a planning tool that helps reduce the overall amount of assets a couple has in their name. It helps each spouse qualify for Medicaid without losing a substantial amount of their assets.
Currently, Medicare does not cover the costs of long-term care. Medicaid assistance is necessary for many families who cannot afford the staggering costs of a nursing home.
Medicaid eligibility requires that a family spend down their assets to the point of poverty before Medicaid assistance may become available.
To get around this, in a Medicaid divorce, one spouse will offer nearly all of the couples assets to the other in a divorce settlement. A spouse can then apply for Medicaid benefits without having to report assets on a Medicaid application.
There are several possible implications in doing this that can have impacts on other benefits.
It is best to consult an elder law attorney before considering a possible Medicaid divorce.
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What Is My Best Option If I Lose Health Insurance After Divorce
If your employer offers health insurance as a benefit, then you should explore this employer-sponsored option. In most cases employer-sponsored insurance plans are the most affordable option, and you also may easily be able to enroll through your companys benefits manager.
If you cant get health insurance through your job, you can buy a plan under the Affordable Care Act. You can either shop through the federal or state exchange, or through a private marketplace like eHealth who can help you navigate this tricky situation.
Common Issues Related To Child Healthcare In Divorce
Providing health insurance to children after a divorce can be a complex process. There are a number of factors to consider that can lead to issues that affect children and parents.
The courts have several options when determining wholl be responsible for providing children with health care coverage. Deductibles, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket costs must also be considered.
There are also additional expenses that many insurance providers dont cover, which further adds to the complexity of divorce cases involving children.
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Avoid Areas Of Confusion With Your Former Spouse
It is important to co-manage as parents and know what is expected of each other. Joint decisions should stay that way. Dont make decisions unilaterally. Make accommodations for your former spouse with health insurer such as, contacting insurer to let know them know the other parent has consent to speak to them about the child. See here if you also have questions about removing spouse from health insurance before divorce.
Legal Requirements For Health Insurance
Parents are legally required to provide for their children, which includes ensuring they have access to medical care through an insurance plan. Typically, most parents receive coverage through their employers, and they are legally allowed to add their children to an employee policy until they are 25-years-old. These policies are often bundled into family rates, meaning the employer may subsidize the cost of the childs health care. After a divorce, a parent may be required to keep their child on a policy to ensure that the child is well taken care of. If a parent drops a child from the policy without consulting the court or in violation of a court order, then they can face severe repercussions from the court.
But does that mean both parents have to keep the child on the policy? Not necessarily. During your divorce, the courts may determine that one parent is responsible for providing health insurance coverage. Oftentimes, this is the parent who will receive child support, as child support payments can include money for health insurance premiums. But this is not always the case, and the courts may make the decision based on who has a stronger policy.
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