Child Support & Medical Insurance in Texas

Child Support & Medical Insurance in Texas
••• Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Divorce is not the easiest thing for families. But it would help if parents agreed concerning their children because it is the right thing to do.

It is worth noting that any household with one or more children under the age of 18 is more likely to carry medical debt than one without any child. That is why you should work hard to agree on health insurance for your children. And it pays to remember that court-ordered health insurance and child support in Texas tend to go hand-in-hand.

Court-Ordered Health Insurance and Child Support in Texas

Generally, child support includes all monies that parents will use to raise their children. And the non-custodial parent is usually responsible for paying the child support to the person who brings up the child most of the time.

However, for insured medical expenses that require out-of-pocket expenses, you are likely to foot ​50 percent​ of the costs, while your ex-partner pays the remainder. However, if you earn incomes with huge differences, courts may order you to pay for the expenses proportionally. So, whoever makes much more may have to foot more costs.

1. Court-Ordered Basic Child Support in Texas

There exists a formula for calculating child support in Texas. And it usually considers your net income sources and amount, the number of children you are paying support for and the extent to which those children need help.

Typically, if you are the non-custodial parent that needs to pay child support for more than one child who may belong to different households, you will spend anywhere from ​20 to 40 percent​ of your income to cover ​one to five​ children. If you have ​six or more​, you will spend at least ​40 percent​ of your paying child support.

For example, if you fathered two children, you should pay at least 25 percent of your income on child support. So, if you earn $4,000 per month, you could pay up to $1,000 as child support for your two children.

That said, the law also sets a cap to guide these kinds of calculations. Currently, child support is calculated based on a maximum net income of ​$9,200 per month​. In addition, limits exist for how much each child can get as child support. And the amount ranges from ​$1,840​ for one child to ​$3,220​ for four children.

If you earn more than the maximum net income limits used for calculations, the courts could order you to pay more for child support. However, the custodial parent must show that your child needs more than the set limits per child.

2. Medical and Dental Support and Child Healthcare Insurance

Medical support is one aspect of child support that the non-custodial parent may have to pay. And the court usually orders one or both parents to pay for this support to obtain health insurance for the child and cover insured medical expenses the child incurs.

It could be in the form of:

  • Health insurance coverage for the child
  • Cash reimbursement to the other parent to cover the health insurance cost
  • Cash payment if the child gets Medicaid

Similar conditions may apply for dental support.

According to Texas law, when paying medical support, it should cover the reasonable cost of providing health insurance coverage for your kids. And that means it should not exceed ​nine percent​ of your yearly resources.

In addition, the courts could order you to pay dental support. However, the reasonable costs for dental insurance coverage for your child are restricted to ​1.5 percent​ of your yearly resources.

Do remember that child support is separate from medical and dental support. For example, suppose you earn ​$60,000​ a year and your local Texas court orders you to provide child support of ​$1,000​ per month.

In that case, you must also prepare to pay up to ​$5,400​ per year in medical support and ​$900​ in dental support each year. That translates to a maximum of ​$450​ of medical and ​$75​ in dental support each month. And your total monthly child, medical and dental support would be ​$1,525.

3. Medical Assistance Programs

If both parents do not have access to medical and dental insurance coverage at reasonable costs, the court may order the custodial parent to apply for government medical assistance programs, such as Medicaid.

However, it may be worth exploring the Texas Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) first. The program provides affordable health insurance coverage to children up to the age of 18 for families that cannot provide private healthcare insurance. But if you are responsible for paying child support, you would still have to pay your ex-partner cash support for that if they enroll your child.

And there is always Medicaid, if you have very low income and no private insurance. But remember, it may bring you to the attention of government authorities who will pursue you for child support if you are not cooperating fully.

Because court-ordered health insurance and child support in Texas tend to go hand-in-hand, it would be best if you found a low-cost health insurance plan for your child, instead of waiting to be forced to pay for it. Separation and divorce are already difficult for children. At the very least, let them have the health insurance they need to access proper medical care when they need it.