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Planning for children's health care coverage during divorce

Divorcing parents must show that they are providing health care insurance coverage for their children. That is stipulated under the Affordable Care Act. Of course, making sure that their children's medical needs are taken care of is a priority for every good parent.

How the financial responsibilities are divided is a matter that's decided during the divorce. It is a separate issue from whether only one parent will have the right to make medical decisions for the child or both parents can make those decisions.

The first matter to be determined is whose insurance policy the child will be covered under. If one spouse has an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, that's often the least expensive way to provide good medical coverage for your child. If both spouses have employer-sponsored plans, one insurer can be the primary provider and the other can be the secondary provider.

No matter how good your child's health insurance coverage, you will still have expenses for co-payments as well as costs above what your insurance plan covers. You'll need to determine in the divorce how these medical expenses will be divided between the two of you. This may be decided as part of the child support settlement. Dividing medical expenses will likely involve one parent reimbursing the other after he or she has paid the co-pay and any additional bills.

Keeping accurate track of insurance premiums, medical bills and reimbursements by one parent or the other can be extremely complicated. Fortunately there's an app (actually more than one) for that.

Apps that are designed to help co-parents share information about their children without having to text, email and talk to each other on the phone are becoming increasingly popular. They generally give parents a place to track and store this and other health information about their children.

No matter how healthy your children are when you divorce, an injury or illness can occur at any time. It's essential that you and your spouse be prepared to deal with these without undue conflict. Your Massachusetts family law attorney can help you ensure that your kids' ability to get the health care they need isn't compromised by your divorce.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "3 Key Topics on Managing a Child's Medical Care After Divorce," accessed May 01, 2017

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