Written By Jennifer Pell
The Affordable Care Act stipulates that minor children must be covered by some form of health insurance. Despite this law, 5% of U.S children under the age of 18 were uninsured in 2017, according to Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families. When a couple with children choose to divorce, both parents can become embroiled in a bitter dispute. However, research has found that children from these families are more likely to get sick. Therefore, for the sake of your child's post-break-up health, it's essential that you get their health insurance policy and its associated costs organized amicably.
Children's health insurance matters
A healthy childhood starts when a child is a baby and of weaning age. During a divorce, it's important that both parents promote a healthy lifestyle. So work together to ensure you're offering the same foods, made in the same way. Where possible, offer nutritious homemade baby food over store-bought food to encourage healthy eating young. However, it's still important to take out health insurance for your child. The Campaign for Children's Health Care advises that children with health insurance are more likely to receive treatment for illnesses, such as ear infections. Health insurance coverage aims to prevent illnesses from arising by helping to cover the cost of routine medical appointments and immunizations. Therefore, it's best taken out as soon as a child is born.
What type of health insurance do children need?
Children from low or middle-income families may qualify for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This can particularly benefit divorced parents as household income will, in most cases, drop. This scheme provides low-cost healthcare, with routine doctor and dental appointments typically free of charge. Thus, it will help to prevent common divorce-related illnesses, such as colds and flu from occurring. However, a monthly premium is required in some states, including in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, copayments are required for other health services. CHIP covers 9 million children in the U.S. However, if you don't qualify, then you'll need to take out a private health insurance policy to ensure that your children get the health care that they need.
An individual health insurance policy to cover your family will cost an average of $1,168 per month. A portion of this figure will cover your child's health insurance and will be stipulated in your policy documents. During divorce proceedings, the judge will typically conclude that healthcare costs fall under the child support payments to be paid by the non-custodial parent. Therefore, the annual child support paid will differ depending on the personal contributions required on the healthcare plan as illnesses and medical concerns arise, in the aftermath of your divorce.
In the midst of a divorce, it's all too easy to forget about the importance of your child's health insurance. However, as research has found that children of divorced parents are more likely to get sick, it's crucial that your child's healthcare is reviewed and agreed during the divorce process.