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Can courts order a parent to provide health insurance?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2022 | Child Support

Alabama parents raising a child alone understand the importance of both child support and good health insurance. Although financial support from the other parent is extremely helpful, health insurance and medical support are just as necessary since medical costs for a child are often quite high.

Yes, with a medical support provision

Under Alabama law, all new or modified child support orders must also contain a medical support provision. This means that in addition to paying a set amount of child support, your co-parent must provide health insurance or medical support for your child.

However, health insurance must be available to your co-parent through their employer, or some other group healthcare-sponsored plan. The cost must also be reasonable.

There is no set definition of a reasonable cost of healthcare coverage. This can potentially complicate the situation if you are asking for an order requiring your co-parent to provide healthcare insurance for your child, in addition to their child support, and they claim the cost is too high.

Under these circumstances, a court will typically ask your co-parent to provide proof of their income, the cost of health insurance and their monthly expenses.

The reality is that many health insurance plans today are incredibly expensive. If your co-parent would legitimately not be able to pay their monthly expenses by adding your child to their health insurance plan, a court may feel the cost is not reasonable.

What happens when health insurance is not available?

Some jobs do not offer health insurance, and your co-parent may not have access to a reasonably priced health insurance plan, so you must provide healthcare coverage. This does not mean you are stuck paying all of the medical expenses.

You may ask the court to include an order for medical or cash support as part of a child support order. This increases your overall amount of support, with a portion designated to pay for health insurance co-payments or premiums.

Good health insurance is important, since medical expenses can quickly accumulate. Understanding your rights under Alabama child support law is important.

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