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Unpaid Medical Bills

Unpaid medical bills

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Mark Cappel
UpdatedJan 12, 2010
Key Takeaways:
  • You and the other parent must create spreadsheets to record your medical costs.
  • Every month or so, exchange spreadsheets and compare who paid what.
  • The parent who paid less should reimburse the one who paid more.

How can my ex-spouse and I divide unpaid medical bills for our children?

My ex has sole legal and physical custody of our two children. I pay full child support and provide full medical coverage for both children. Our order states that we agree to equally share non-covered medical/dental expenses. The Coordinator is the parent who incurs the cost and the Contributor is the parent who reimburses the Coordinator. If ex takes the children to the doctor, who is the "Responsible Party?" It doesn't seem right to me that I get the bill and have the burden of attempting collection for ex's half. This is what he is doing, however and he never reimburses me. I realize that I can take legal action against him eventually, but until it's over $250, a judge won't hear my pleas. How can I assure that the adult who brings the child in is the party who is sent the bill?

I commend you on paying child support and medical insurance. Keeping up with both of these expenses is no small feat.

Divorce can be difficult and each decree is different. I will take your word on what your decree stipulates. Equal share is equal. However, if your ex-spouse takes the kids to the doctor or dentist, you are the responsible party covering any costs because your are the primary insured party. Customarily, medical co-pays must be paid at the time of service. Dental costs not covered by the plan are usually billed afterward. However, each provider has its own policies.

Medical costs and divorce

Here is a proven method of keeping children's medical costs equitable: Keep a spreadsheet of all costs incurred. In the spreadsheet have the following columns:

  • Date of service
  • Out-of-pocket
  • Amount reimbursed by insurance
  • Net cost of service
  • Service provider
  • Brief description of service
  • Child name

Your ex-spouse should do the same thing. Every month send each other an e-mail message with those costs detailed. Reconcile the amounts, and whoever paid more should be reimbursed by the other.

Quick Tip

The Debt Coach offers non-nonsense information about your debt relief options, and will give you the pros, cons, and costs for each.

Be thankful your costs are less than $250. Many children have medical issues where the monthly costs are extremely high.

It is your insurance coverage that is providing for your children and unless you become uninsured (via unemployment or life-changing event), you are responsible for the costs. You cannot change the provider’s billing system.

An alternative is to speak with your divorce attorney to go back to court to revise the decree and change the specifics of the medical costs not covered by the insurance. That would cost more than what it seems your medical expenses are today, if you are mentioning a judge would not hear your case unless the costs exceed $250.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.