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Health care coverage as part of child support

Child support agreements may, at least from an outside perspective, seem fairly cut-and-dry. One parent is required to provide financial assistance to the other in order to ensure that the couple's children are properly taken care of. Yet for many of the child support agreements that exist between divorced couples in Charlotte involve a number of different elements and can thus be quite complex to adhere to. One such element that often raises a number of questions is the obligation of non-custodial parents to carry health insurance for their children.

According to the North Carolina Division of Social Services, non-custodial parents may be required to carry health insurance coverage at reasonable cost for their children if no insurance other than Medicaid is available to the custodial parent. North Carolina General Statue 50-13.11 defines "reasonable cost" as employment-related coverage or other group health insurance plans. A failure to provide health care coverage when a parent has been ordered to do so will result in him or her being held responsible for any health or dental expenses that the child accrues from the date that the order went into effect. As far as insurance claim authorization, the signature of either parent is sufficient to start the claim submission process.

Once a non-custodial parent has been ordered to provide health insurance by the family court, his or her employer must be provided with a National Medical Support Notice within five days. This notice details the parent's obligation to his or her children, and includes a notice to withhold health care coverage. The employer then has 20 days to communicate the need for coverage to the plan administrator. Should the parent change employment, it is his or her responsibility to ensure this process is repeated with the new employer's health insurance plan.