As of April 15, 2015, the effective date of these Lessons, it is too early to ascertain every impact of the comprehensive and highly controversial Affordable Care Act, but for the time being, we know that every child in Kentucky should have health insurance, whether through a parent’s employment, Kynect, the Marketplace or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program.)
Before passage of the Affordable Care Act, KRS 403.211(7) already established the circumstances related to parents’ responsibility for obtaining private health insurance for their children. If private coverage is “reasonable in cost and accessible” to either parent, the court shall require it to be provided, and it shall allocate the cost between the parents in addition to child support. "Reasonable in cost” is defined to be coverage which does not cost more than 5 % of that parent’s gross income. “Accessible” is defined to mean that there are providers who meet the child’s health care needs who are located no more than 60 miles from the child’s primary residence.
KRS 403.211 law requires that if the private health coverage provides for covered services for dependent children beyond the age of majority, then any unmarried children up to age 25 who are full-time students enrolled in and attending an accredited educational institution and who are primarily dependent on the insured parent for maintenance and support shall be covered. The cost for coverage of children under who qualify under this provision is presumably to be allocated according to the parents’ respective incomes as long as the coverage is maintained.
The Affordable Care Act requires an insurance provider to make coverage available for adult children until they turn 26 regardless of whether they are married, regardless of whether they are attending school, and regardless of whether they are financially dependent on their parents.
What if a parent provides coverage for an adult child even though it is not required under KRS 403.211? Is the other parent required to pay his or her share of the cost? We won’t know until this is addressed by the appellate courts.
Often both parents have available coverage and sometimes they disagree about which policy should be used. Imagine that! In that case, the custodian will decide which policy to use, but if they have joint custody, they will have to present their argument to the judge who must decide the issue. Once it is resolved which parent will provide coverage, the cost is allocated according to their respective incomes and, much like the allocation of childcare expense on Exhibit 13, the worksheet will give the parties appropriate credit for the cost of health insurance for the child or children only.
In any event, now you know a whole lot more than you did before about private health insurance coverage for children in Kentucky. Enjoy your day!