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Is health insurance included in the child support payment?

A custodial parent in Texas may be concerned with health coverage in addition to financial support. It is helpful to note that under the state's laws, both parents are responsible for the entire cost of medical treatment, meaning that a physician or medical center may be able to seek payment from either parent regardless of child support arrangements or other custody issues. Although the court might dictate the responsibility of one parent or another for medical expenses, this won't affect the right of the provider to attempt to collect from either or both parents. Even the state's Medicaid agency might be able to seek reimbursement from either parent.

In cases involving children whose parents are not living in the same home, the family court typically details the obligations and rights of each parent. This is to include an order related to a child's insurance coverage. A parent who is expected to pay child support will typically also be expected to provide health insurance. In cases involving a parent who is already providing health insurance for a child, there will most likely be an expectation that this continues.

If a support order has been established, the parent who is to receive child support may expect to be compensated for the cost of health insurance. Cooperation is important, and a judge may expect parents to work together to ensure that coverage is sufficient and that its expense is limited. The attention will typically be given to coverage available from parents' employers with preference given to coverage through the parent who owes support. In a case involving a lack of coverage through either parent's work, it may be ordered that they seek a health care policy through the state.

An individual who is seeking support for a child after a separation or divorce may want to discuss issues such as health care costs and coverage with a family law attorney. Additionally, the attorney may assist in recommending terms for addressing medical costs that aren't covered through insurance.

Source: TXAccess.org, "Health Care Obligations for Children/Medical Support", September 12, 2014

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