A child’s health is always a significant concern for his or her parents. In a New Mexico divorce, the question of how to handle a child’s medical care should not be a mystery, but some issues surrounding it can cause confusion. It’s extremely important for you and your co-parent to manage healthcare decisions for your children with full clarity and attention so they always receive the treatment they need. When you’re considering your child’s healthcare after a divorce, here are three thing you need to keep in mind.
The health insurance question
In a divorce with children involved, you and your spouse must decide which of you will provide the insurance coverage for the kids. If you and your spouse have group coverage through work, you may be able to list the child on both plans, with one being primary insurance and one being secondary and only kicking in for expenses the first plan won’t cover. When the insurance coverage is assigned to one spouse, that’s considered a form of support and will be included in the child support calculation.
Should neither of you have coverage available for the kids, the question of who picks up the tab for insurance has to be decided. There may be other options if you and your spouse can’t afford coverage for the children, such as Medicaid and New Mexico’s Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Out-of-pocket medical costs
As part of your divorce, there should be a decision made about how out-of-pocket costs like co-pays will be addressed. Parents may split these costs equally or by ratio, such as one parent being responsible for 30 percent and the other 70 percent. Regardless, one parent usually pays the fee in full upfront and is then reimbursed by the other parent for his or her portion.
To ensure reimbursement, you need to have a system in place to document out-of-pocket costs. You’ll also need to decide with your spouse when you will be reimbursed, such as within a few days of paying the expense or on a set basis, like the first of each month.
Caring for the kids at home
Most children will get sick or come down with what all the kids at school have. When you, your spouse and your children were all in one home, you probably had a solid care routine tailored to your child. Now, since you are living apart, you and your spouse both must be mindful of any health concerns your child has and decide how you will handle them together and separately. You also need to keep each other up to date on any medical details regarding your child, such as past problems, upcoming appointments, any incidents that happened and so on. This keeps both parents on the same page when it comes to medical care.
If any special items, foods or medicines are needed for your child, each parent should have their own stock on hand. There should also be a list of the child’s health insurance information, contact information of doctors and other emergency contact information in each parent’s home. If you haven’t already done so, speak to your child’s insurer and doctors to let them know the other parent has permission to communicate with them about your kid’s healthcare. If you decide that medical decisions concerning your child will be joint, keep it that way; don’t go and make big choices without involving the other parent.
Managing your child’s healthcare post-divorce is an important task that both you and your co-parent must handle responsibly. During your divorce, make the best decisions possible about your child’s healthcare and speak to your attorney if you have questions about any of it.