Michigan law requires each child support order to contain a clause regarding medical insurance. The order requires parents to obtain and/or maintain health care insurance for the children if that coverage is available at a reasonable cost as a benefit of employment. In addition to this provision, the order will also contain a clause dealing with those medical costs not covered by insurance.
Special Note to Parents:
Parents working together can control healthcare costs, make healthcare decisions in the best interest of their children and reduce disputes over healthcare. Healthcare insurance can reduce risk and reduce the portion both parents have to pay for uninsured expenses. Mutual decision on healthcare coverage is necessary to assure favored doctors are in the plan and that the children can be serviced in the area where they live.
The National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) and Order for Dependent Health Care Coverage
Federal and state law now require that the Friend of the Court notify parents’ employers to enroll the dependent children in health care coverage (medical insurance). The Notice of Order for Dependent Health Care Coverage is the notice or form sent to the employers. The notice is sent whenever the parents change employment. Michigan’s Notice of Order for Dependent Health Care Coverage complies with the standards established by the federal government in the National Medical Support Notice.
How to object to the Notice of Order for Dependent Health Care Coverage?
The Notice is to be sent to the employer within two business days of the Friend of the Court learning of new employment for the parent. Parents will be sent a copy of the notice if the Friend of the Court has current addresses. A parent has fourteen days to file an objection with the Friend of the Court. Objection:
- Must be in writing
- Must clearly be titled a review request and request a review
- Must be signed and dated by the requesting parent
- Must only object because the cost is unreasonable
- Must include the case number
How to amend the health care provisions of the court order?
Parents may wish to ask the court to change the requirement that both parents maintain health care coverage through employment. A new spouse could be maintaining coverage or the parents could agree that only one needs to maintain coverage at the present time. If a letter of agreement is signed and submitted by both parents, the Friend of the Court may prepare an order designating the insurance policyholder. You may also ask your attorney to file the motion or petition, or request forms and instructions from the Friend of the Court.
How to supply input to assist the Friend of the Court if it must select from healthcare options available under the employer’s healthcare plan?
Advise the Friend of the Court in writing within fifteen days of your preference if you are the custodial parent. You will have to ask the employer or the other parent what options are available. Indicate your preferences in order. The Friend of the Court may find that an option does not meet the reasonable cost test.
How reasonable cost is determined?
Pursuant to the 2017 Michigan Child Support Formula Manual, reasonable cost of coverage is determined by: A reasonable cost for providing private health care coverage does not exceed 6% of the gross income of the providing parent.