Katie was riding her bike when she fell off and broke her leg. You took her to the emergency room. She needed to see a specialist for a cast. You had to pay for crutches, pain medication, and physical therapy. Fortunately, she was covered by your insurance, but you still have hundreds of dollars in bills.
Your California child support order requires your ex-husband to pay half of Katie’s medical expenses. You’ve sent him copies of the bills, but it’s been months, and you have not been reimbursed. What can you do?
If your ex-spouse won’t pay his share of your child’s medical expenses, your best option is to request reimbursement through family court.
You will need to prove the following for child medical expense reimbursement:
- The medical or dental services were provided after the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage was entered.
- Your child was eligible to receive child support at the time that the medical expenses were incurred.
- You paid the bill.
- You submitted the bill to all applicable insurance companies.
- The insurance company paid their share of the bill.
- You requested reimbursement from your ex-spouse.
- Your ex has not paid you.
Make sure that you keep copies of all medical bills and receipts, as well as any communications, denials, or explanations of benefits from the insurance company. Keep careful track of the expenses you paid and any payments from your ex-spouse. When requesting reimbursement from your ex-spouse, make the request in writing. Keep a copy, and send the request by certified mail. Send bills as you get them. Saving them up can put an unfair burden on the other parent.
There are some cases in which the court may reject your request. To avoid having your request for reimbursement denied:
- When possible, use doctors and dentists who accept your insurance plan. If you must go out-of-network, be prepared to justify that decision.
- Chiropractic services may not be covered. You should be prepared to pay the entire bill unless your ex specifically agrees in writing to pay half of all chiropractic expenses.
- Discuss all long-term, non-emergency services such as counseling or braces with your ex-spouse.