518.171 Medical support.
Subdivision 1. Order. Compliance with this section constitutes compliance with a qualified medical child support order as described in the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) as amended by the federal Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (OBRA).
(a) Every child support order must:
(1) expressly assign or reserve the responsibility for maintaining medical insurance for the minor children and the division of uninsured medical and dental costs; and
(2) contain the names, last known addresses, and social security number of the custodial parent and noncustodial parent, of the dependents unless the court prohibits the inclusion of an address or social security number and orders the custodial parent to provide the address and social security number to the administrator of the health plan. The court shall order the party with the better group dependent health and dental insurance coverage or health insurance plan to name the minor child as beneficiary on any health and dental insurance plan that is available to the party on:
(i) a group basis;
(ii) through an employer or union; or
"Health insurance" or "health insurance coverage" as used in this section means coverage that is comparable to or better than a number two qualified plan as defined in section 62E.06, subdivision 2. "Health insurance" or "health insurance coverage" as used in this section does not include medical assistance provided under chapter 256, 256B, or 256D.
(b) If the court finds that dependent health or dental insurance is not available to the obligor or obligee on a group basis or through an employer or union, or that group insurance is not accessible to the obligee, the court may require the obligor (1) to obtain other dependent health or dental insurance, (2) to be liable for reasonable and necessary medical or dental expenses of the child, or (3) to pay no less than $50 per month to be applied to the medical and dental expenses of the children or to the cost of health insurance dependent coverage.
(c) If the court finds that the available dependent health or dental insurance does not pay all the reasonable and necessary medical or dental expenses of the child, including any existing or anticipated extraordinary medical expenses, and the court finds that the obligor has the financial ability to contribute to the payment of these medical or dental expenses, the court shall require the obligor to be liable for all or a portion of the medical or dental expenses of the child not covered by the required health or dental plan. Medical and dental expenses include, but are not limited to, necessary orthodontia and eye care, including prescription lenses.
(d) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties and approved by the court, if the court finds that the obligee is not receiving public assistance for the child and has the financial ability to contribute to the cost of medical and dental expenses for the child, including the cost of insurance, the court shall order the obligee and obligor to each assume a portion of these expenses based on their proportionate share of their total net income as defined in section 518.54, subdivision 6.
(e) Payments ordered under this section are subject to section 518.6111. An obligee who fails to apply payments received to the medical expenses of the dependents may be found in contempt of this order.
Subd. 2. Spousal or ex-spousal coverage. The court shall require the obligor to provide dependent health and dental insurance for the benefit of the obligee if it is available at no additional cost to the obligor and in this case the provisions of this section apply.
Subd. 2a. Employer and obligor responsibility. An individual shall disclose at the time of hiring if medical support is required to be withheld. If an employee discloses that medical support is required to be withheld, the employer shall begin withholding according to the terms of the order and pursuant to section 518.6111. If an individual discloses an obligation to obtain health and dental dependent insurance coverage and coverage is available through the employer, the employer shall make all application processes known to the individual upon hiring and enroll the employee and dependent in the plan pursuant to subdivision 3.
Subd. 3. Implementation. A copy of the court order for insurance coverage shall be forwarded to the obligor's employer or union and to the health or dental insurance carrier or employer by the obligee or the public authority responsible for support enforcement only when ordered by the court or when the following conditions are met:
(1) the obligor fails to provide written proof to the obligee or the public authority, within 30 days of the effective date of the court order, that the insurance has been obtained;
(2) the obligee or the public authority serves written notice of its intent to enforce medical support on the obligor by mail at the obligor's last known post office address; and
(3) the obligor fails within 15 days after the mailing of the notice to provide written proof to the obligee or the public authority that the insurance coverage existed as of the date of mailing.
The employer or union shall forward a copy of the order to the health and dental insurance plan offered by the employer.
Subd. 4. Effect of order. (a) The order is binding on the employer or union and the health and dental insurance plan when service under subdivision 3 has been made. In the case of an obligor who changes employment and is required to provide health coverage for the child, a new employer that provides health care coverage shall enroll the child in the obligor's health plan upon receipt of an order or notice for health insurance, unless the obligor contests the enrollment. The obligor may contest the enrollment on the limited grounds that the enrollment is improper due to mistake of fact or that the enrollment meets the requirements of section 518.64, subdivision 2. If the obligor chooses to contest the enrollment, the obligor must do so no later than 15 days after the employer notifies the obligor of the enrollment, by doing all of the following:
(1) filing a request for contested hearing according to section 518.5511, subdivision 3a;
(2) serving a copy of the request for contested hearing upon the public authority and the obligee; and
(3) securing a date for the contested hearing no later than 45 days after the notice of enrollment.
(b) The enrollment must remain in place during the time period in which the obligor contests the withholding.
An employer or union that is included under ERISA may not deny enrollment based on exclusionary clauses described in section 62A.048. Upon application of the obligor according to the order or notice, the employer or union and its health and dental insurance plan shall enroll the minor child as a beneficiary in the group insurance plan and withhold any required premium from the obligor's income or wages. If more than one plan is offered by the employer or union, the child shall be enrolled in the least costly health insurance plan otherwise available to the obligor that is comparable to a number two qualified plan. If the obligor is not enrolled in a health insurance plan, the employer or union shall also enroll the obligor in the chosen plan if enrollment of the obligor is necessary in order to obtain dependent coverage under the plan. Enrollment of dependents and the obligor shall be immediate and not dependent upon open enrollment periods. Enrollment is not subject to the underwriting policies described in section 62A.048.
(c) An employer or union that willfully fails to comply with the order is liable for any health or dental expenses incurred by the dependents during the period of time the dependents were eligible to be enrolled in the insurance program, and for any other premium costs incurred because the employer or union willfully failed to comply with the order. An employer or union that fails to comply with the order is subject to contempt under section 518.615 and is also subject to a fine of $500 to be paid to the obligee or public authority. Fines paid to the public authority are designated for child support enforcement services.
(d) Failure of the obligor to execute any documents necessary to enroll the dependent in the group health and dental insurance plan will not affect the obligation of the employer or union and group health and dental insurance plan to enroll the dependent in a plan. Information and authorization provided by the public authority responsible for child support enforcement, or by the custodial parent or guardian, is valid for the purposes of meeting enrollment requirements of the health plan. The insurance coverage for a child eligible under subdivision 5 shall not be terminated except as authorized in subdivision 5.
Subd. 5. Eligible child. A minor child that an obligor is required to cover as a beneficiary pursuant to this section is eligible for insurance coverage as a dependent of the obligor until the child is emancipated or until further order of the court. The health or dental insurance carrier or employer may not disenroll or eliminate coverage of the child unless the health or dental insurance carrier or employer is provided satisfactory written evidence that the court order is no longer in effect, or the child is or will be enrolled in comparable health coverage through another health or dental insurance plan that will take effect no later than the effective date of the disenrollment, or the employer has eliminated family health and dental coverage for all of its employees, or that the required premium has not been paid by or on behalf of the child. If disenrollment or elimination of coverage of a child under this subdivision is based upon nonpayment of premium, the health or dental insurance plan must provide 30 days written notice to the child's nonobligor parent prior to the disenrollment or elimination of coverage.
Subd. 6. Plan reimbursement; correspondence and notice. (a) The signature of the custodial parent of the insured dependent is a valid authorization to a health or dental insurance plan for purposes of processing an insurance reimbursement payment to the provider of the medical services or to the custodial parent if medical services have been prepaid by the custodial parent.
(b) The health or dental insurance plan shall send copies of all correspondence regarding the insurance coverage to both parents. When an order for dependent insurance coverage is in effect and the obligor's employment is terminated, or the insurance coverage is terminated, the health or dental insurance plan shall notify the obligee within ten days of the termination date with notice of conversion privileges.
Subd. 7. Release of information. When an order for dependent insurance coverage is in effect, the obligor's employer, union, or insurance agent shall release to the obligee or the public authority, upon request, information on the dependent coverage, including the name of the health or dental insurance carrier or employer. The employer, union, or health or dental insurance plan shall provide the obligee with insurance identification cards and all necessary written information to enable the obligee to utilize the insurance benefits for the covered dependents. Notwithstanding any other law, information reported pursuant to section 268.044 shall be released to the public agency responsible for support enforcement that is enforcing an order for health or dental insurance coverage under this section. The public agency responsible for support enforcement is authorized to release to the obligor's health or dental insurance carrier or employer information necessary to obtain or enforce medical support.
Subd. 8. Obligor liability. (a) An obligor who fails to maintain medical or dental insurance for the benefit of the children as ordered or fails to provide other medical support as ordered is liable to the obligee for any medical or dental expenses incurred from the effective date of the court order, including health and dental insurance premiums paid by the obligee because of the obligor's failure to obtain coverage as ordered. Proof of failure to maintain insurance or noncompliance with an order to provide other medical support constitutes a showing of increased need by the obligee pursuant to section 518.64 and provides a basis for a modification of the obligor's child support order.
(b) Payments for services rendered to the dependents that are directed to the obligor, in the form of reimbursement by the health or dental insurance carrier or employer, must be endorsed over to and forwarded to the vendor or custodial parent or public authority when the reimbursement is not owed to the obligor. An obligor retaining insurance reimbursement not owed to the obligor may be found in contempt of this order and held liable for the amount of the reimbursement. Upon written verification by the health or dental insurance carrier or employer of the amounts paid to the obligor, the reimbursement amount is subject to all enforcement remedies available under subdivision 10, including income withholding pursuant to section 518.6111. The monthly amount to be withheld until the obligation is satisfied is 20 percent of the original debt or $50, whichever is greater.
Subd. 9. Application for service. The public agency responsible for support enforcement shall take necessary steps to implement and enforce an order for dependent health or dental insurance whenever the children receive public assistance, or upon application of the obligee to the public agency and payment by the obligee of any fees required by section 518.551.
Subd. 10. Enforcement. Remedies available for the collection and enforcement of child support apply to medical support. For the purpose of enforcement, the costs of individual or group health or hospitalization coverage, dental coverage, all medical costs ordered by the court to be paid by the obligor, including health and dental insurance premiums paid by the obligee because of the obligor's failure to obtain coverage as ordered, or liabilities established pursuant to subdivision 8, are additional child support.
HIST: 1986 c 404 s 13; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 403 art 3 s 77; 1988 c 668 s 13; 1990 c 568 art 3 s 91-94; 1993 c 322 s 8; 1993 c 340 s 21-29; 1994 c 630 art 11 s 6,7; 1995 c 207 art 10 s 15-20; 1995 c 257 art 1 s 19; 1997 c 66 s 79; 1997 c 203 art 6 s 38,39,92
Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes