Upon a finding of paternity or dissolution of marriage, child support calculations are one of the first orders of business for many parents. Determining who will have custody and how much support will be paid are determined, as family law matters are, by what is in the best interests of the child.
Child support is calculated using a specific formula, which takes into account many factors, including the gross weekly income of the parents, weekly work-related child care expenses, subsequent and prior children, and weekly health insurance costs for the child(ren)1. The calculations are determined by the Indiana Child Support Guidelines2.
One specific weekly cost that is often in contention in creating a child support worksheet is health care costs. If the parent providing health insurance for the child has employer-provided healthcare, it must be calculated what the cost is for the child(ren) only for child support purposes. Thus, often parents must contact their HR department through their employer for a breakdown of the insurance coverage.
Sometimes, the child(ren) are covered under Medicaid, and there is a nominal or no weekly payment for their health insurance coverage. In this case, the payment, if any, is included in the worksheet, and is credited to the parent who pays for same.
However, what if the child is not covered under employer-provided health insurance of a parent nor is receiving state assistance? Or, what if even employer-provided insurance is extremely expensive? The child support calculations calculate what a reasonable weekly fee for health insurance is. If this amount is not reasonable, the parent will not be forced to obtain this health insurance for the child.
Public policy strongly encourages children be covered by health insurance to protect them and provide medical treatment as necessary. Child support can be modified should health insurance become available and often, agreements or decrees note that should health insurance become available at a reasonable price, that same should be purchased for the children.
With the changing tides of the health care system, this issue may change in the next year or two. However, currently, unreasonably high health insurance costs are not required to cover children, pursuant to the calculations of the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. Understanding how child support is calculated and the breakdown of health care costs can be paramount to your child support matter.
We hope that this blog post has been helpful in understanding the relationship between child support and children’s health insurance. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This blog post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.