Who Is Responsible for Children's Medical Coverage in Divorce in Ohio?

By Mary Jane Freeman

When couples divorce, they typically focus on issues like property division, alimony, child support and custody. However, Ohio recognizes that maintaining a child's health insurance and ensuring her medical needs are met post-divorce are equally important. As a result, Ohio has established clear guidelines governing these matters and parents must follow them or face severe penalties.

When couples divorce, they typically focus on issues like property division, alimony, child support and custody. However, Ohio recognizes that maintaining a child's health insurance and ensuring her medical needs are met post-divorce are equally important. As a result, Ohio has established clear guidelines governing these matters and parents must follow them or face severe penalties.

Pre-Existing Policy

Under Section 3105.71 of the Ohio Revised Code, if a child is covered by a health insurance plan when her parents file for divorce, the parent who holds that plan is prohibited from canceling the policy while the divorce is pending. This rule also applies to the "planning" stage immediately preceding the divorce filing when spouses often get their affairs in order as preparation.

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Cancellation Penalties

If a parent defies Ohio law by terminating his child's insurance coverage upon filing for divorce or immediately prior, the court will impose stiff penalties. Upon securing new coverage for the child or reinstatement of the previous policy, if possible, the court will instruct the terminating spouse to pay for the premiums, including any missed premiums, and any hospital, surgical or medical expenses incurred as a result of the premature cancellation. If the spouse fails to comply, the court will instruct the spouse's employer to deduct these amounts from his wages.

Child Support & Health Insurance

Prior to finalizing a divorce, the court will address the issue of child support. Ohio law requires that all child support orders incorporate a child's health insurance costs. In Ohio, courts will order parents to provide health insurance for their child if either parent can obtain such coverage at a reasonable cost, defined as 5 percent or less of the insured parent's gross income. If affordable health insurance is not available or coverage is lost, the court will instead attach to its child support order a "cash medical support order," which allots money for uncovered health care costs. Typically, each parent will contribute to medical support in proportion to his or her percentage of the parents' combined income.

Unreimbursed Medical Expenses

In Ohio, the residential parent (the parent with whom the child lives) receives child support and is generally responsible for paying the child's "ordinary" uncovered medical expenses. Ohio law defines these as the first $100 in out-of-pocket expenses per child per year. Costs above this figure are considered "extraordinary" and Ohio courts typically order these to be paid by both parents according to their percentage of the combined parental income, either before or after the payment of child support depending on the requirements of the child support order.

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Ohio Health Insurance to a Spouse Post-Divorce

References

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Insurance Between Filing & Divorce

When you file for divorce, most state courts immediately freeze the marital status quo. They don't want you or your spouse making any radical changes until a judge can decide who gets what, or you and your spouse reach a settlement agreement on your own. This includes altering insurance policies, because if catastrophe should strike before your divorce is final, the court wants some assurance that it won't dissipate your assets or place your children at risk.

Georgia Health Insurance Laws Concerning Divorce

Many spouses have health insurance coverage through their spouse’s group plan, but that eligibility changes when they divorce. If one spouse is receiving health insurance benefits through the other spouse’s plan, the receiving spouse must elect coverage under COBRA if she wants to remain on that plan once the divorce is finalized.

Can One Spouse Cancel a Joint Insurance Policy During a Divorce?

Divorce can take several months from start to finish, and spouses sometimes find it difficult to work together on family issues while their divorce is pending. One spouse might wish to change or cancel an insurance policy while the divorce is pending because he doesn’t want to continue paying for the policy or wants to change the beneficiary. Family court laws vary from state to state, but spouses cannot cancel their insurance policies until the divorce is final in most states.

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