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Health Insurance and Child Support

Law Office of Ivy L. Graham March 28, 2024

Child and adult holding red heart with stethoscopeChild support and health insurance often go hand in hand in family law matters. When child support is ordered, one parent typically provides financial support to the other for raising the child. Additionally, the court may specify which parent is responsible for providing health insurance coverage for the child. This can involve adding the child to one parent's plan or obtaining separate healthcare coverage. The parent responsible for providing health insurance may also have to pay premiums and other expenses, and failure to comply with these orders can result in legal consequences.  

At the Law Office of Ivy L. Graham, our goal is to provide you with comprehensive insights and guidance to make sure you are well-informed about your rights and responsibilities regarding child support and family law. The well-being of your children is our top priority, and we're here to help you every step of the way. Located in Denham Springs, Louisiana, we proudly serve clients throughout Livingston, Colyell, Holden, and Albany. 

The Importance of Health Insurance for Children

Child support is a legal mechanism designed to ensure that children receive consistent financial support from both parents, reflecting a standard of living that closely resembles what the child would have experienced if the parents were together. Child support plays a pivotal role in making sure a child's basic needs are met, from food and shelter to clothing and medical care.  

Louisiana utilizes the "income shares model," which bases child support calculations on the combined adjusted gross income of both parents. This approach aims to distribute the financial responsibility proportionally between the parents, taking into account each parent's ability to contribute. It's important to remember that child support is the right of the child and should best serve their interests and needs.  

Louisiana's guidelines consider various expenses that are directly related to the child's welfare, including health insurance premiums. When one parent bears the cost of the child's health insurance, this amount is factored into the child support calculation, potentially adjusting both parent's overall financial obligations. This ensures that health insurance and medical care—a critical aspect of a child's well-being—are adequately addressed within the child support framework.  

Health Insurance as a Part of Child Support

Incorporating health insurance into child support agreements is not just beneficial; it's often a requirement. Some key considerations for health insurance in child support include the following. 

A Variety of Healthcare Coverage Options 

There are numerous health insurance coverage options available for parents to consider for their children, and there are also various ways a parent can obtain it. When selecting a healthcare plan for your child, it's essential to review its cost, coverage options, and availability within your area. Some common healthcare coverage options include: 

  • Employer-provided private health insurance  

  • Plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace  

  • Public healthcare coverage from Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)  

  • Direct payment towards health care costs when insurance is not available  

Inclusion of Medical Support in Child Support Orders 

Medical support orders are crucial to make sure children have access to the health care services they need. These orders can mandate the provision of health insurance and outline the responsibilities for healthcare expenses not covered by insurance.  

The Role of the National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) 

The NMSN is a legal tool used to enforce health insurance coverage as part of child support. It obligates employers to enroll children in available health insurance plans and ensures the continuation of this coverage.  

Adjusting Child Support Payments 

In Louisiana, the cost of providing health insurance for the child is factored into the overall child support calculation. This may lead to an adjustment in the amount of child support owed, depending on whether the custodial or non-custodial parent provides the insurance: 

  • If the custodial parent provides the insurance, the child support obligation from the other parent may increase to cover this expense.  

  • If the non-custodial parent provides health insurance, they may receive a deduction in their child support payment.  

Handling Changes and Disputes

Life happens, and circumstances can often change; so do health insurance needs and child support obligations. This could constitute a change in employment, the availability of insurance or healthcare options, or the specific needs of the child. If you need to change or modify an existing child support order, it's important to seek legal counsel to properly address any disputes that may arise and to make sure the changes keep the child's best interest at heart.  

Resources and Support

Knowing your health insurance options and understanding how they interact with child support can be complex. Resources such as and customer service centers for Medicaid and CHIP offer valuable information on creating accounts, applying for healthcare coverage, and selecting and enrolling in a healthcare plan. 

Dealing With Disputes and Challenges

Disagreements over health insurance and child support can be stressful and emotionally-taxing. Some of the common disputes and challenges that can occur when establishing child support or modifying an existing child support order include:  

  • Disagreements Over Medical Support Provision: Disputes between parents regarding who should provide medical support for the child or how much each parent should contribute can create tension and conflict.  

  • Enforcement of Court Orders: Challenges may arise when enforcing court orders related to medical support and health insurance coverage, especially when one parent fails to comply with the agreed terms.  

  • National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) Issues: Disputes can arise between parents and the Department of Children and Family Services regarding the use of the NMSN, as well as challenges in ensuring employers transfer notice of healthcare coverage provisions accurately.  

  • Health Insurance Coverage Disputes: Conflicts can occur over selecting a health insurance plan when multiple options are available, changes or lapses in coverage, and the obligations of employers to notify the Department of Children and Family Services regarding employment termination or coverage changes.  

  • Reimbursement Claims for Covered Services: Challenges in obtaining reimbursement claims for covered services can lead to disputes, particularly when there are disagreements over the necessity or cost of those services.  

  • Enrollment and Civil Liability Issues: Disputes may arise regarding the enrollment of a child under a parent's health insurance coverage based on certain grounds, such as being born out of wedlock. Additionally, there can be conflicts related to the civil liability of employers concerning the withholding of contributions for health coverage.  

Reach Out for Knowledgeable Legal Advice

If you're facing difficulties with health insurance coverage or child support arrangements, the Law Office of Ivy L. Graham is here to support you. Our approach emphasizes the holistic well-being of the child and advocating for a child support arrangement that comprehensively addresses their needs. If you have questions or need assistance with your child support and health insurance matters, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. Together, we can work toward securing a bright and healthy future for your children.