Enforcement of 50-50 Unreimbursed medical bills in Texas Courts
- There are reasons one parent might want to go to court to enforce a medical support order against the other parent. Maybe it’s because the parent who is supposed to cover the child’s health insurance fails to cover the child. Or maybe it’s because the parent who is supposed to pay the other parent a monthly cash medical amount fails to pay their monthly payment, leaving the parent providing the insurance stuck paying the monthly premiums alone. Or maybe it’s this last reason, one parent won’t reimburse the other by paying their 50% of a medical procedure that was not covered by the insurance plan. In Houston Harris county courts, this last scenario involving the 50-50 reimbursement is a popular scenario that comes up for enforcement in family court.
- It typically works like this, the parents have a court order that says one parent is to provide health insurance for the child and both parents are court ordered to split the cost of anything the health insurance won’t cover. And each parent is supposed to send the other parent notice of the bill, procedure, or prescription and get paid. However, the other parent does not pay, and a few months later both parents find themselves in court standing before a judge for an enforcement lawsuit. Here are a couple tips for avoiding this drama.
- 1. At the beginning of the co-parenting relationship, try to make sure that there is a clear understanding on what procedures are necessary and make the cost shareable.
- 2. also agree on what procedures are optional and will be the Responsibility of one parent.
- Lastly, 3. ensure that the health insurance plan is actually useful health insurance, and not a bad junk policy that will not cover the important things the child needs.
- For example on the 1st 2 tips, I’ve discovered a lot of times parties allow themselves to get into battles over reimbursable medical bills because one parent pays for something for the child that was medically unnecessary and that party became upset when the other parent opted not to reimburse them half the cost. Whether or not it was a justifiable procedure, it’ll be pricey to get to court and get a ruling from a judge on whether or not the procedure was a necessity. An agreement in the beginning between the parents on what is considered a permitted reimbursable procedure can prevent the problem in the first place.
- Regarding tip 3, parents fall into disagreement sometimes because a bad insurance policy that's basically useless in covering the child’s necessary medical issues forces the parties to spend a lot of personal cash covering uninsured claims. Making sure good health insurance plans are in place to cover as much of the child's medical needs as possible will help keep folks out of court.
- But what if the procedure or prescription was necessary and the health insurance is good insurance, but the other parents just refuses to chip in their half. Well, in those clear cut cases, one parent will have little choice but to seek a enforcement of the 50-50 unreimbursable provisions of the court order. Seek out a competent legal representative if you go down this path.
- The following were tips for obtaining unreimbursed medical expenses under Texas child support laws.