What to Do About Your Child's Healthcare Plan After a Divorce

Healthcare can be complicated enough on its own, and it may become even more complicated after a divorce or separation in New Mexico as healthcare for the kids will now be organized between two different households. However, when co-parents are proactive and address issues before they arise and with a clear system established, it can make managing healthcare much easier, ensuring the children receive all the treatment and medical attention they need when they need it.

Each family’s situation will have its own unique set of circumstances, but here is a look at three common aspects of children’s healthcare that you and your co-parent should know how to handle.

Health Insurance Management

When you divorce, you need to decide who will provide the children’s health insurance. If you and your co-parent both have group coverage through your employers, you may be able to both list your children on the plans. One plan will be the “primary” plan, while the other becomes a “secondary” one that only covers some expenses the primary one will not.

If just one parent is providing health coverage for the children, it can impact the child support calculation. Whether it will make a difference often depends on whether the insurance is being handled by the parent paying or receiving support. If you are not sure how health coverage will impact your child support amount, speak to your family law attorney.

Out-Of-Pocket Medical Costs

As part of the divorce, a decision is usually made on how out-of-pocket medical costs for the children, such as co-pays, will be handled. Parents may split these costs equally or in another ratio that is set out in the divorce agreement. Generally, one parent will have to pay these fees upfront when they are due, with the other parent paying their portion to the parent who paid at the time at a later date. To manage this, you need to set up a solid reimbursement system. This ensures payments are always made in a timely manner and documented properly. 

Caring at Home

Children often have health concerns that parents have to be mindful of and for which treatment will now need to be coordinated between both homes. When you lived with your ex-spouse, you may have had a solid care procedures in place for your child. Now, however, both you and your co-parent will have to handle those health concerns on your own when the child is with you.

Keep your co-parent up-to-date on all relevant medical information concerning the children, including past conditions, incidents and upcoming appointments, and ask him or her to do the same for you. You should also make sure that both homes have the medications and equipment that the children need to manage any health concerns or conditions. The children’s health insurance information and doctor’s information should also be readily available in both homes.

If you and your co-parent are going to be making joint decisions about medical care for your child, do so. Don’t make big decisions without involving your co-parent, and don’t keep him or her in the dark about what is going on with your child’s health. Have a plan outlining how you will communicate with each other about your children’s healthcare and how you will handle major decisions. 

Managing your child’s healthcare after divorce is an important task that has to be handled by both parents in a responsible way. During your divorce, making the best possible choices for your child’s health insurance now will go a long way later. Craft a plan for handling out-of-pocket medical costs and agree on how these costs will be reimbursed. Finally, make sure you and your co-parent always have everything needed to care for your child at both homes.