Throughout a marriage, is normal for one spouse to apply for health coverage that is utilized for both partners and their children. Once a couple decides to get a divorce, they must work together to determine child custody, visitation, child support obligations, and which spouse will continue maintaining health insurance for the children. Since minor children often need annual wellness checks, vaccines for school attendance, and treatment for health conditions, it is important to keep children insured at all times. Divorce settlements can include health insurance coverage stipulations to help ensure that both parties understand who is responsible for maintaining post-divorce medical coverage for children.
Who is Responsible for Maintaining Insurance Coverage
Both parties and their attorneys need to decide who should keep the children of the relationship insured. In situations in which one parent does not have access to health insurance due to lack of employment or lack of availability, the other parent may find him or herself responsible by default. Regardless of your family’s dynamics, never take it for granted that you or your spouse will be able to afford medical insurance or that your children will always be eligible to receive government subsidized insurance. Include who is responsible for insurance in the divorce agreement to avoid problems in the future.
How are Uninsured Medical Expenses Paid
Once the question of which parent is responsible for paying for the child’s medical insurance is answered, both parents should discuss how to handle uninsured medical expenses. Certain things like braces, optional vaccines, and out-of-network emergency care are not covered by health insurance. If uninsured medical expenses are never discussed, parents might find themselves in an extended battle as each person attempts to get out of making a payment. Sharing uninsured medical expenses equally is an option to be explored especially if both parents are employed and financially able to make a contribution toward uninsured expenses.
Dealing with Lapsed Insurance
After the divorce agreement is created, child support is ordered, and both parties try to move on with their lives, a disruption in employment for one spouse could have serious repercussions for his or her former partner. Job loss or a change in insurance carrier may lead to the person responsible for insuring the child dropping the required medical coverage. When this occurs, a parent is no longer in compliance with the court ordered agreement. If you expect a lapse in insurance coverage, first discuss the situation with your ex-spouse and make a plan for dealing with your child’s medical care until insurance is found. Any custodial parent who finds out his or her child is no longer insured should contact the former spouse immediately or, if the ex-spouse is unavailable or has no explanation, contact an attorney to discuss the situation.
Contacting an Attorney
Even when a couple is no longer married they must still work together to preserve the physical and emotional health of their children. Maintaining medical coverage for all minor children in a household ensures that they receive preventative care and emergency treatment when necessary. The family law attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum know how important it is to establish a settlement that addresses medical coverage. Contact us and schedule a consultation at one of our four offices conveniently located in the Atlanta metro today.