If you are facing a divorce, your children are naturally your primary concern. An important component of this concern is maintaining your children’s health, which necessitates carrying adequate health insurance. Divorce naturally leaves parents with many questions – not the least of which is how you will keep your children covered under health insurance. The State of Texas is in agreement with you in that the best interests of your children should always be the primary focus of every divorce decision made. As such, provisions for your children’s health care must be adequately addressed in your divorce.
Your Responsibilities as Co-Parents
Your divorce agreement will delineate you and your ex’s co-parenting responsibilities, including:
- Financial responsibilities
- Physical responsibilities involving their care and maintenance
- Legal responsibilities
Part of these important responsibilities includes securing medical insurance for your children, which is not optional. Both federal and state laws require that children be adequately insured.
Who Is Responsible for Medical Insurance?
Often, one parent becomes the primary custodial parent, which means the parent with whom the children primarily reside – while the other parent has a visitation schedule with the children. In these instances, the parent with the visitation schedule is responsible for providing the children's health insurance and for paying child support. The primary custodial parent is viewed as already contributing to the children's support by providing for them on a daily basis. Typically, the parent with the visitation schedule includes the children on his or her health insurance policy – whether it is employment-based or purchased privately. If both parents have medical coverage, however, the children can be covered by whichever policy is most beneficial.
If the parent who is responsible for covering the children’s health insurance does not have access to reasonably affordable and adequate insurance coverage for the children, the custodial parent may be required to add the children to his or her plan (if applicable). In such instances, the additional amount paid by the custodial parent will be added to the other parent’s child support payments.
If neither parent has access to reasonable health insurance for the children, the court will consider other options, including:
- Purchasing private medical insurance (if it can be purchased for a reasonably affordable price)
- Having a stepparent cover the children’s health insurance (if either parent has remarried)
- Obtaining government-sponsored medical coverage (for those who qualify)