In all divorce matters, in every state, the court will ensure that the issue of the children’s health insurance is addressed. Frequently, the parents can agree on which parent will provide coverage and the court will enter that agreement as part of the final divorce decree.
If the parents cannot agree on a plan, the court will review the parents’ individual financial statements and make orders according to their individual financial capability. The most common court orders involving health insurance coverage include:
- Requiring non-custodial parents who are employed to maintain their children on their employer-provided health insurance plan.
- If the parent is not provided insurance through his or her employer, then an affordable private plan must be purchased that covers the children.
- If neither parent can afford health insurance, the child may qualify for healthcare under a state Medicaid or, in Illinois, AllKids.
- Depending on the financial situation of each parent, one parent may be required to pay all medical expenses, such as co-pays, deductibles and non-covered expenses, in addition to health insurance premiums. The court may also order the expenses to be divided between the parties on a percentage basis based on their income.
The court’s order should generally always provide that the party providing insurance must tender proof of insurance to the other parent. Under the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (i.e. “Obamacare”), the parent who claims the children on his or her tax return as dependents is required to provide proof of the health insurance with the return.
If the custodial parent is claiming the dependents and the non-custodial parent is providing insurance, the custodial parent could face the penalty under the Affordable Care Act if the other parent fails to provide health insurance.