Hafemeyer Law

Health Insurance and Child Support

It is that time of year when most employers and employees are looking at their health care plans and trying to budget for next year’s expenses.  With rising health care costs, your health insurance premiums may also be increasing. Some employers have decreased the percentage of coverage that they are willing to pay for the employee, and other employers have stopped paying for employees’ coverage altogether. These decisions can have a significant impact on employees who have child support obligations.

Almost every child support order contains an order that one or both parents provide medical coverage for the child or children of the marriage through a health plan. A health plan is the health care coverage or medical benefits that are paid for under a health care plan that can be derived from an employer or be purchased privately. Medical assistance or MinnesotaCare are not included in the Court’s definition of a health plan in Minnesota.

Typically the Court will also assess whether or not the health plan is appropriate to meet the medical needs of the child or children.  When assessing what health plan is the most appropriate the Court will often looks at the following factors:

  1. Accessibility – a health plan offers accessible coverage if primary care is available within 30 miles or 30 minutes of the child’s home, and specialty care is available within 60 miles or 60 minutes.
  2. Comprehensive – the Court often determines that a health plan is comprehensive if it offers emergency, preventative, acute and chronic care. If both parents have coverage which meets the above criteria the Court may examine which plan offers extended coverage like dental, orthodontics, glasses, and or mental health or substance abuse coverage.
  3. Affordable – a health plan will likely be deemed affordable for a parent if it is equal to or less than 5% of gross income.
  4. Special Needs – the Court will also examine if any of the children have special needs that need to be addressed under a health plan

If you believe that the changes that have occurred in your health plan have made it inaccessible or unaffordable and you believe these changes may need to be addressed by the Court, contact my office. I will be happy to discuss if a modification of your child support obligation may be appropriate.

Comments are closed.