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Your Guide to California Health Insurance Coverage Orders

If you have questions about California health insurance coverage orders, you are in the right place. Our San Francisco child support lawyers answer some of the most common questions about health insurance coverage for children after their parents’ divorce.

Nearly every California child support order has a provision for health insurance, but health insurance coverage is separate from child support. In fact, the parent responsible for providing insurance may not be the parent paying child support. It depends on the circumstances.

Who provides health insurance?

If either parent has health insurance coverage through an employer, and health insurance coverage for the child is available at little or no cost, that parent will be ordered to maintain health coverage for the supported child. The parent may be held in contempt of court if he or she cancels the child’s health insurance. This means that if your child is currently covered under your spouse’s plan, she will continue to have that coverage after the divorce.

It is important to know that health insurance includes dental and vision coverage. If these options are available at reasonable cost, they must be included.

Does child support cover health insurance?

In most cases, California child support is not expected to cover health insurance. A parent that must pay out of pocket to provide health insurance for the supported child will be given an allowance for the cost of insurance when calculating the California child support order. This is true even if the money is taken out of the parent’s pretax earnings. The allowance can help offset the cost of insurance.

What if neither parent has access to reasonably priced insurance?

If health insurance is not available for either parent, the child support order will include a provision requiring each parent to obtain health insurance if circumstances change and health coverage becomes available. When health insurance is available at a reasonable cost, a parent who does not cover the child can be held in violation of the court order.

What is “reasonable cost?”

California family law guidelines consider the cost of health insurance reasonable if it does not exceed five percent of the parent’s gross income. The cost of health insurance for the child is considered the difference in cost between cost for individual insurance coverage (parent only) and family coverage (parent and child, or children).

I am supposed to pay half of my child’s medical expenses? Do I have to pay half of the health insurance provided by my ex-spouse?

The cost of health insurance required by a California child support order is separate from out-of-pocket, uninsured medical costs. Unless your child support order states otherwise, you are only required to pay half of all co-pays and uninsured expenses (any medical expenses not paid by insurance). Your ex-spouse is responsible for the insurance premiums.

Do you have more questions? Our San Francisco child support attorneys are happy to help. To schedule an appointment, contact The Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan at 415-341-1144.