Monday, August 2, 2021

Child Support and Reimbursement of Health Care Expenses

 By:  Katie Cushman

We often get questions regarding how the payment of health care expenses works in Michigan when one parent is paying child support to the other.  Many get confused that the cost is automatically broken down by the percentages assigned to each party in the child support order, but this is incorrect.  If ordinary medical expenses are included in the child support order, the payer (the parent paying the support) is already contributing to the medical costs on a monthly basis as part of the child support payment.  Generally, this means that the payee (the parent receiving the support) must cover the day-to-day costs.  Only once the total expenses exceed the stated annual ordinary medical (AOM) threshold amount in the order (currently set at $454 per year, per child), do the percentages kick in.  This means that the payee parent must be careful to keep track of the expenses along the way, including keeping receipts, so he/she can be ready when it is time to request reimbursement from the payer parent.

Once the payee parent exceeds the AOM amount, he/she has 28 days from the date of the bill to request reimbursement from the payer parent.  If the payer fails to pay his/her portion of the bill, then the Friend of the Court can enforce payment.  In Wayne County, this form must be filed to make a formal request.  Again, it is necessary to show all receipts and accounting in order for the FOC to enforce the payment. 

So what do ordinary medical expenses consist of, you ask?  Usually they include insurance co-pays and deductibles as well as most uninsured medical costs for children.  The term “medical” includes treatments, services, equipment, medicines, preventative care, similar goods and services associated with oral (including braces), visual, psychological, medical, and other related care provided or prescribed by a health care professional for the child(ren). Routine remedial care costs (e.g. first aid supplies, cough syrup, and vitamins) do not qualify as medical expenses.

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