There are many issues the Colorado court takes into consideration to determine child support payments. Colorado family law considers medical costs part of basic child support financial obligation. Keeping a child healthy is a top priority for any parent and providing healthcare coverage is one of the most important costs of raising children.
Most divorcing parents decide whose medical benefits provide the best and most affordable coverage for the children during mediation. If parents can’t reach a workable agreement during the mediation process there are several ways a judge can order parents to provide this basic care including:
- Order a parent whose employer offers health benefits to provide coverage for the child or children
- Order one or both parents to purchase health care coverage for the child
- If parents are unable to afford medical insurance coverage, the court may order parents to apply for coverage under the state’s Medicaid or CHIPS program
- Order both parents with employee benefit coverage to cover the child, with one insurance policy as the primary insurance and the other as a secondary
When children have insurance coverage, the court uses a complex system to divide the premium payments proportionally between parents, ensuring that the child support payer includes their share of the cost in their child support payments. The Denver child support lawyers at Ciancio, Ciancio, Brown P.C. can help you navigate through the complexities of the system the state uses to determine proportional coverage costs for you and the other parent.
What About Medical Expenses Beyond Insurance Premiums?
While insurance premiums are paid per the agreement worked out in mediation or court, most healthcare needs go far beyond the basic well-child checkups and routine dental cleanings. There are also co-pays, deductibles, out-of-network costs, and extraordinary expenses — or unanticipated expenses such as emergency room visits, emergency surgeries, and orthodontia.
In Colorado, a statutory provision specifies that the parent who is the child support recipient pays the first $250 of out-of-pocket medical expenses per child with the premise that the amount is already factored into the support payments they receive since the court recognizes $250 as the average amount of uninsured medical expenses per child for each year. Once the parent exceeds that amount, Expenses beyond that are the extraordinary expenses. The exception to the statutory provision is when parents share custody 50/50, in which case whichever parent has custody of the child at the time the medical expense occurs pays for the expense. The court then considers this part of basic expenses that it expects each parent to pay when the child is with them just as they’d pay for food, entertainment, and other incidental expenses that come up.
- There are several ways the Colorado courts require parents to contribute proportionally to these extraordinary medical expenses:
- Add beyond-insurance medical costs to child support if a chronic conditions requires regular treatment
- Parents divide costs 50/50 as each expense arises
- Parents agree to divide extraordinary medical expenses on a scale proportional to their incomes
What if an Adjustment is Needed?
If there’s a change in premium costs, the parent providing the health insurance coverage can file for an adjustment by submitting proof that the child has coverage and documentation of the insurance costs.
If you have questions about medical coverage, out-of-pocket costs, and extraordinary expenses related to child support, the skilled Denver family law attorneys at Ciancio, Ciancio, Brown P.C. can help you to understand what’s expected of you under Colorado family law.