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Minnesota child support orders must include health coverage

When most people think of child support, they think of the monthly payments that must be made by a noncustodial parent to help provide for the child's basic needs. But in Minnesota, child support orders must also set out how the parents will provide medical coverage for the child.

If one parent already has health insurance, the court will usually order that coverage to be continued. If both parents already have health insurance, the court will generally order the custodial parent to include the child in that coverage. The court will also include in the order whether one parent will be responsible for the premiums or whether the parents will split the cost. The child support order will also specify how the parents will divide the costs of medical care that is not covered by insurance.

The court must determine whether available health coverage is appropriate. The court will consider several factors including whether the coverage is accessible, whether it is affordable and whether it is comprehensive. Coverage is comprehensive if it provides hospital and medical coverage for acute, emergency, preventive and chronic care. The court will also take into account whether the child has any special health care needs.

Noncustodial parents who are obligated to contribute to health care coverage for their children and the custodial parents who depend on those contributions, have an interest in making sure the arrangements are affordable and sufficient for the child's needs. Working together to negotiate a fair support agreement is usually the best way to reach this goal.

Source: Minnesota Department of Human Services, "Medical support and health care coverage," accessed July 9, 2016

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