Minnesota Divorce and Sharing Healthcare Costs for the Children

women, gavel and scalesThese days insurance companies while decreasing premiums tend to increase co-payments or cut insurance coverage benefits for medical, vision and dental services.   As a result, parents pay more for uninsured medical expenses for the children.

How does the increase in uninsured medical costs for the children impact Minnesota divorce agreements?

Child support calculations in Minnesota are based upon an income share model. This means that both Minnesota Parent’s gross incomes are totaled, which results in the total amount of money available for the children’s support.  Parent A’s income is a percentage of the total as is Parent B’s income.  For example, if Minnesota Parent A contributes 60% of the total gross income and Minnesota Parent B contributes 40%, then these percentages are used to decide how much of the uninsured medical costs that Parent A pays and Parent B pays.   In the foregoing example, Minnesota Parent A would be responsible for 60% of the cost of uninsured medicals for the children and Minnesota Parent B would pay 40% of the insured medicals costs for the children.

Often times,  Minnesota Parents will stipulate or agree to a 50/50 split of all the children’s uninsured medical expenses.  With  increasing co-payments and uncovered benefits, a 50/50 split means that the Parent B ( the parent who earns less gross income in our example) is going to have more of a financial burden in paying to his or her share of uninsured medical costs.  The extra burden may not seem like much money, but as insurance companies increase co-payments and decrease coverage, the uninsured medical costs for the children will add up.  If the Minnesota Parents follow the Minnesota child support model, then both parents will be responsible  for uninsured medical costs according to their percentage or income share, which is the intended result.

How does the paying Minnesota Parent collect his or her share of medical costs from the other non-paying Minnesota Parent?

Language in a Minnesota divorce decree can set out a method for both parents to give billing statements or receipts showing proof of payment to the other parent.  The non-paying parent can have 15 to 30 days to reimburse the paying parent.  The parties can exchange receipts every month or on a quarterly basis.  An online family communication website like OurFamilyWizard.com is a useful tool for exchanging information on bills as well as any information related to the children.

What if a Minnesota Parent refuses or fails to pay his or her share of uninsured medicals?

Simple language in a Minnesota divorce decree will allow automatic collection by the county for the paying Minnesota Parent if the other  Parent isn’t contributing his or her share: such as,

“In the event one parent fails to pay his or her share of uninsured healthcare, vision or dental expenses for the children,  then unpaid uninsured healthcare, vision or dental expenses may be collected by automatic withholding.”

Kate Willmore

St. Cloud, Minnesota, Divorce, Family Lawyer & Mediator

(320) 217-6030  or kaw@katewillmorelaw.com

http://www.katewillmorelaw.com    http://www.katewillmoremediation.com

Copyright 2014

About Kate Willmore, Esq.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, divorce, custody and family attorney brings over 25 years experience to every client's legal matter. *** Licensed in Minnesota and in California

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