Getting reimbursed for your children’s unreimbursed healthcare expenses, or those expenses that are not covered by your child’s insurance policy, from the other parent requires that you be responsible for maintaining well-documented records of such healthcare expenses. Spreadsheets via Word or Excel are the easiest way to keep track of all your children’s unreimbursed healthcare expenses. If you have multiple children, keeping records and spreadsheets of each child’s unreimbursed healthcare expenses separately will be the easiest way to manage and keep organized. Each child’s section may also include various subsections of healthcare expenses, such as physician visits, prescriptions, and ongoing expenses. The incurred, unreimbursed healthcare expenses should also be ordered chronologically as to keep track of all deadlines for submitting the reimbursement to the children’s other parent.
In addition to the individual rows that count for each unreimbursed healthcare expense, your spreadsheet should include columns of information, such as the count or number of each expense; date of services; the purpose of or reason for expense; the amount of expense paid by you; the full amount of expense if different; the date documentation was sent to the other parent; and amount owed by the other parent.
Just as it is important to keep track of your children’s unreimbursed healthcare expenses as specified above, it is equally as important to maintain a spreadsheet or column for the reimbursements that you receive from the children’s other parent. You should update your spreadsheet as soon as possible after the date of service or receipt of reimbursement from the other parent as not to fall behind on tracking your reimbursements and to risk losing the proper documentation. Keeping your spreadsheet updated can also prevent any delays in filing legal action if necessary. This consistent updating can prove useful if you need to hire an attorney to file an enforcement action against the other parent for failure to reimburse.
The proof required to submit for requesting reimbursement of the healthcare expense from the children’s other parent includes the following:
- Physician’s statement with the child’s name, date of services, and payment amount
- Prescriptions: copies of the prescription labels or patient printout history from your pharmacy
- Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from the insurance provider
- Proof of payment with either receipts, canceled checks, or bank statements
- If you use bank statements, the statements must clearly identify the payee
- For ongoing healthcare expenses, such as braces, keep a copy of the contract, physician’s statement for each visit, and proof of payment for monthly and down payments
- For hospital billing, keep copies of the various expenses separate, such as physician fee bill with proof of payment, anesthesiologist fee with proof of payment, lab work fee with proof of payment, etc.
For temporary and final orders, the most common method to furnish the other parent the items on the list of proof required to be reimbursed is via electronic mail or e-mail. Both parents e-mail addresses will be inserted into the orders, and if either parent’s e-mail address changes, he or she is required to notify the other parent in writing of a change in e-mail address within 24-hours of such change.
The other methods of furnishing healthcare information to the other parent are hand delivery, mail, courier, text message, or Our Family Wizard. If your order does not specify the method for submitting reimbursement to the other parent, the Court requires submission of unreimbursed healthcare expenses by mail. However, if you often communicate with the other parent via some other method, you should also send a copy via that route of communication.
Mailing the reimbursement information to the other parent is equally effective as e-mail, especially if you are unsure about sending confidential information over the Internet. If you choose to send via mail, it is advised that you send via certified mail, return receipt requested. This method is tracked, but you should also send a copy of the same information via first-class mail in the scenario that the other parent fails to pick up the certified mail from the post office. If you send the reimbursement information both certified mail and first-class mail, the Court will find that you have properly submitted your requests for reimbursement.
You must submit the proof required to the other parent on or before the 30th day after you receive such proof, which will likely be on the same day you make the payment for the healthcare expense. No matter what method you submit your request for reimbursement, you should include a cover letter that includes a salutation with the other parent’s name, an overview of the details of the reimbursable expenses, the other methods that you sent the request, and the date. If you are e-mailing, the date should already be time-stamped, but you should also request a delivery receipt and read receipt of the e-mail to notify you when the other parent receives and further reads the e-mail.
You should always keep a copy of the documents and cover letter or e-mail that you sent to the other parent for your records. If you do send via certified mail, you should receive the green CMRRR card back after being signed by the other parent. Keep this for your records and staple it to the cover letter. You should keep your copies somewhere safe and scan them to your computer to ensure that you will not lose the important information.
Please note that you are not allowed to request reimbursement for unpaid, outstanding healthcare expenses. If you have not paid or only paid a portion of the unreimbursed healthcare expense, you cannot request that the other parent reimburses for his or her percentage share of the outstanding amount but rather only the amount which you have paid. For example, if the total expense was $500.00, but you have only paid $250.00 of the total, you can only request reimbursement from the other parent for his or her percentage share of the $250.00 expensed.
Further, a failure to submit your children’s unreimbursed healthcare expenses does not mean that the other parent does not have to reimburse you, but it does mean that the Court may not find the other parent in contempt of court for failure to reimburse due to a lack of proof that the other parent ever received the request for reimbursement.
If you are the parent who has received a request for reimbursement, you will need to make a full payment for your percentage share of the reimbursement total within 30 days of receiving the proof required from the incurring parent. After paying the reimbursement to the other parent, keep a receipt and spreadsheet for each reimbursement paid. Additionally, if you do not receive the proof required for the reimbursement within 30 days of the date marked on the receipt or date of service, this does not mean you are not required to pay the reimbursement. Instead, you will have 120 days to reimburse the incurring parent for your percentage share of the healthcare expense. You should never ignore paying the reimbursable healthcare expense without first speaking to an attorney.