Obtaining adequate health care coverage for your children is a big deal as a parent—you always want to be sure that your children are covered if they have pre-existing medical conditions or in the event of a medical emergency. Unfortunately, the cost of health care continues to rise in this country.
Further, there is continued legislative uncertainty regarding the Affordable Care Act. It is therefore in your interest to understand how the laws in North Carolina address children’s health care and medical expenses when it comes to child support.
Medical Support By Agreement or Order
Under North Carolina General Statute 50-13.11, parents can either agree or a court can order one or both parents to pay for a child’s “medical, hospital, dental, or other health care related expenses.” These can include the many potential medical expenses that a child accumulates which insurance does not pay for. Courts will often proportionately divide the responsibility for these expenses between the parents based on their incomes.
Health Insurance Is Mandatory at a “Reasonable Cost”
In contrast to medical expenses, courts are required to order the parent of a child to maintain health insurance for the child. There is, however, a caveat in that a parent is only required to pay for health insurance if it is available at a “reasonable cost” or when it becomes available at a reasonable cost. Health insurance is deemed reasonable if the additional cost of the child under the parent’s existing coverage (or a child-only policy) does not exceed 5% of the parent’s gross income.
While it can be tricky to distinguish what portion of an employer subsidized health insurance policy is directly paid by a parent for the child’s coverage, it is an incredibly important question that must be answered. This is due to the fact that this cost is then apportioned between the parents in accordance with their relative incomes. An experienced attorney can help you sift through the complexities of accounting for health insurance during child support proceedings.
New Direction Family Law
Your children need health insurance and health care. At New Direction Family Law, we represent both fathers and mothers who need assistance with child support issues. We understand the law and will make sure that you are treated fairly and that your legal interests are protected. We take our jobs seriously and will stand up for you. We provide representation in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Call New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment or reach us online.
Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law