Child Health Insurance After Divorce

Child Health Insurance After Divorce

Every state handles divorce a little differently, but in general, parents are required to maintain basic support of their children during and after a divorce. This support can take many forms, ranging from making payments to a spouse in order to assist with groceries and other essentials to setting aside money for major expenses. In this post, we’ll discuss child health insurance after divorce.

SC Divorce Courts Require That Children Maintain Health Insurance

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), requires that children maintain basic health coverage. Children can generally remain on a parent’s health insurance plan until 26. But beyond this federal requirement, South Carolina divorce courts will require parents to make arrangements to maintain adequate health insurance and often dental coverage for their children.

Requirements For Health Insurance

Sometimes the judge will allow parents to come up with an agreement that takes care of this issue. This, of course, assumes the parents can come to an agreement. In other situations, the judge will consider the parents’ finances, employer-sponsored insurance plans, and access to discounts and other programs that may make sense in their situations. If parents cannot reach a mutual agreement on the matter, then the court will make the decision for them. While every case is unique, courts often order these types of scenarios:

Non-custodial parent with group insurance

Non-custodial parents who have affordable “group” coverage through their employer may be ordered to add children to their plan. This works out well because the premiums are often pre-tax deductions from the parent’s paycheck, which offers a financial benefit to the parent providing the insurance coverage. Plus, these plans are often more generous and cover more than high-deductible plans offered through the insurance marketplace.

Custodial parent with group insurance

Custodial parents who have affordable “group” coverage through their employer may be ordered to carry insurance for the children. However, if this creates an inequitable income situation, the court may order the non-custodial parent to pay an increased support amount to account for this.

Neither parent has group insurance

Since federal law mandates health insurance for everyone, if neither parent has coverage through an employer, one of them may be ordered to purchase insurance through the healthcare exchange. These plans vary in price by location, but depending on income, tax credits can make them much more affordable.

Parents Cannot Afford Private Insurance

If the parents cannot financially meet the health insurance obligations, they may opt for Medicaid through South Carolina’s Partners for Healthy Children (PHC) program, which offers free (or reduced cost) children’s health insurance for families with income at or below the federal poverty guidelines.

Who Claims Tax Benefits?

Since 2014, when the ACA was fully implemented, whoever claims the child on tax returns will also have to prove the child had coverage all year. If the other spouse maintains the coverage, then there needs to be a way for the parents to communicate so that the parent who claims the child on taxes can report accurate information to the IRS.

Getting Help With Divorce Issues in South Carolina

Throughout Mount Pleasant and the nearby areas of South Carolina, Klok Law Firm LLC works hard to help families who are going through a divorce. We take the time to get to know our clients and their situations because we understand that no two cases are the same. If you’re looking for answers, contact us to speak with an experienced attorney who can help guide you through this difficult time.