Kevin Qualls Family Law
Maintaining Professionalism. Preserving Civility. Finding Answers. Practical Guidance On Important Divorce And Custody Matters

Unreimbursed health care expenses

A previous post here discussed the process courts and parents in California should use with respect to unreimbursed medical expenses. Oftentimes, insurance does not pay for all of a child's medical needs, and one or both parents will be left paying some bills out of pocket.

In addition to visits to the doctor, these bills can also include visits to dentists, eye doctors and mental health professionals or other therapists. These bills can really put a strain on an Orange County parent's budget. As such, and as our pervious post mentioned, it is only fair that both parents should contribute to these important and oftentimes very necessary expenses. The first step in doing so is to make sure that the child support order clearly and accurately specifies how uninsured medical and related expenses are going to be allocated.

Even when there is a court order in place, however, there are certain rules the parents must follow. On a procedural note, if one parent receives a bill, then that parent must pass that information along to the other parent within 30 days. The parent submitting the bill must also indicate how much of the bill has been paid.

On a more substantive note, parents must first try to use the insurance coverage indicated in the child support order. Likewise, if the court-ordered insurance includes a distinction between network and out-of-network medical providers, the parent arranging the treatment for the child must either choose the cheaper in-network provider or be willing to pay the difference in cost.

Sorting out unreimbursed medical expenses can be complicated. Moreover, given the cost of some treatments, the stakes of such decisions can be high.

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