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How do you handle unreimbursed medical expenses?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
We (as in DH and DSD's mom - I will be there because DS is having his 2 yo visit at the same time) are taking DSD to the dr on Wed, and because it is a sick visit we will have at least a copay. We haven't even started on our deductible for the year, because everything that we've used the insurance for thus far has been preventative care (which is fully covered), so this visit may not be covered at all (our deductible is around $100 and that is what visits seem to run around here).

The parenting agreement says that all non-reimbursed medical expenses are to be split 50/50. How do people usually handle this? DSD's mom already owes us plenty of money on a non-related thing that she pays whenever she feels like it, but this seems like something that she will need to pay in a timely manner. DH doesn't get to pay CS when he gets around to it. IMO, she should have to pay this when the bill is due, just like we have to.

Since this is the first time that this has come up, it feels a bit precedent-setting. If DH just pays the bill and lets her get to her half when she gets to it, then we may be setting ourselves up to pay for a mouth full of braces all by ourselves in a few years. I want DH to handle this correctly to ensure that will not happen.

How does everyone else do it? I'd like details, down to the $20 that we will have to hand the person sitting at the front desk. Does each pay $10 there? Or work it out later? Same thing with the bill when it comes in the mail. TIA!
post #2 of 17
Some medical offices allow you to split the bill with them, and they bill the other parent separately.

I know our regular doctor, and our orthodontist does that. Now, if the other parent doesn't pay, it does automatically bounce back to the custodial parent for payment, but we haven't had back luck with that so far.
post #3 of 17
On paper: Whoever incurs the cost pays it up-front, and the other party reimburses half. Accounting and reimbursement is to be done quarterly.

In reality: If we incur the cost, we just pay it. If SD's mom incurs the cost, she asks for my partner's half almost immediately, which is fine--it spreads the cost out.

We're also starting a braces fund (which could end up a hearing aid fund or a crutches fund or whatever, depending on her and any future children's medical needs) and will contribute a set amount per month to it.
post #4 of 17
Is she the custodial parent? In my situation, I am the custodial parent, therefore I'm listed as the "responsible party". This means all the bills come to me. My ex is good about paying his share and it's laid out in our decree that I have 15 days to show proof that I paid the bill and he has 30 days to reimburse me. However, our decree also states that he carries insurance, I pay the copays and deductibles.
post #5 of 17
My mom would drop me off at the office with "her half" of the amount due once I was old enough to make sense of conversations with doc but couldn't drive (I think around 13). That way, they got paid her half and would bill my father the other half, which they did, kindly. Before that, my mom always brought ONLY enough cash to pay her half in with her.

When we went to our family doc who we'd seen for YEARS, that wasn't necessary, but for a while our insurance changed and we had to see a "stranger" who was not happy about billing my father for the balance. They wanted our business, though, so because she brought half (I think plus a dollar) in, they saw me and billed dad for the rest. If he was good about reimbursing, my mom, the custodial parent, would have been happy to just have the amount billed and collect from him. BUT he wasn't. So, he was listed on the paperwork as the "responsible party" and my mom brought in half of the payment.

THen, doctors started to change rules and the "responsible party" had to be the one to bring in the ill child. SO my mom DID actually just start calling him to pick me up and bring me to the doctor...again, because he was terrible at paying medical bills and we didn't have enough money to eat, let alone pay doctor bills that were his responsibility. Of course when he picked me up, my mom would have her half in cash in my pocket. Silly, the whole thing. I wish everybody could have just been adult about it.

So...I think it worked that way, though. I think you should call the doc beforehand for an estimate of the cost for the visit (assuming a culture or blood test or whatever they see as protocol for the presenting symptoms), and then let the other parent know that you will bring your half with, and will expect that they will do the same.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by adlib77 View Post
Is she the custodial parent? In my situation, I am the custodial parent, therefore I'm listed as the "responsible party".
DH and DSD's mom have 50/50 joint physical and legal custody. He only pays CS because he makes more than she does. He is listed as the responsible party at the dr's office now, because we've taken DSD to the dr a few times for check-ups before this parenting agreement was in place. We never had to pay a copay before, because the check-ups fell under the fully covered "preventative care" clause that DH's insurance has.
post #7 of 17
It is usual and customary in my state that the CP pays all unreimbursed medical (including copays, scripts, OTC meds) up to $250 per year. After that, it is customary for the parents to split the rest according to the %age indicated by their income.

Personally, I have stopped asking dd's dad to pay his share. I hit her unreimbursed $250 by March every year and then fork another $500 minimum through the rest of the year.

It's difficult enough to get him to pay is share of her childcare. I can't imagine how irked I'd be if I had to bug him about $$ every time I spoke to him. It's tough on my budget and some months I just scrape by, but it's worth my piece of mind at this particular stage in my life.
post #8 of 17
As of now, whoever takes her to the doc pays the co-pay. Dsd's mom pays medical expenses (such as surgery) becaus the bill is sent to her and we give her half (she gives us a copy of the bill and check proving she paid it already) asap. She carries the insurance, if that matters.
I would probably not make a big deal about the 10$ since you are going together, but would send her a copy of the bill etc. asap if it is a large amount. Unless of course, you need that $10 in whcih case I would hand your 10 to the receptionist and wait pointedly for mom to pull out her wallet Good luck!
post #9 of 17
By divorce decree my ex is suppose to be responcible party. I could have the doctor's bill him directly......but they would never get paid and stop seeing my son.
post #10 of 17
Have DSD's mother sign her in. You and your husband can be there as well, but like the other posters said, whoever brings the child in is the responsible party. You can pay your half right then, and she will be responsible for the balance.

Does your DH go through the FoC for support? If so, unreimbursed expenses outlined in your plan can go through them. Good luck!
post #11 of 17
I would encourage your husband to talk to her about it ahead of time so she is prepared to pay her half that day.

When my husband and his ex split the co-pay and are both present at the appointment, they are each responsible for their half the day of the appointment. I think once it happened that one of them didn't have it and they went to the ATM immediately afterward to reimburse the other parent for their half. Once I think there was an agreement about deducting it from some other expense, like swim class fees or something, rather than each person writing a check. But those are exceptions, and were at the agreement of both people.

Anyway, each person brought their checkbook or their $10 (or whatever) in cash and they paid their half to the desk the day of the appointment...
post #12 of 17
We just cover it all, even though the divorce decree states Capt. Knuckle's dad is responsible for half of all medical expenses and insurance premiums. I figure the peace of mind is worth the co-pay and deductible. I do however send him an email letting him know how much was spent & keep records of it all, "just in case."
post #13 of 17
We are supposed to split 40/60 according to the decree. So far I have not asked him to reimburse for anything, our co-pay is $10 and I just pay it. We are lucky to have 100% coverage for most everything.

However, Sage just had an eye exam that may not be fully covered. I put him as responsible party and he signed (the insurance for the kids is in his name) the paper. I will gladly pay my 40% when they bill him, but I know that if they billed me he would never pay me the 60% even though the decree says he has to. His response to everything is "That's what child support is for" despite the fact that I voluntarily agreed to lower his support by $500 a month to help him out (ftr he makes twice what I do)
post #14 of 17
How did it go?
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by adlib77 View Post
How did it go?
Well, DH let DSD's mom know in advance that there might be a copay. She actually asked about it when she arrived. So it seems that she understands that this is a split cost, which is good. The office didn't actually charge us a copay - not sure why. Maybe they were confused because DS was seen at the same time for something not requiring a copay? I am guessing that we will receive a bill. We'll see how that goes when we get it.
post #16 of 17
Our doc has recently started billing us the copay unless I ask to pay it at the time of the appointment. They never know how much the copay is, either, I have to tell them. Maybe they will bill you.

We (CP) pay all expenses.
post #17 of 17
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post
By divorce decree my ex is suppose to be responcible party. I could have the doctor's bill him directly......but they would never get paid and stop seeing my son.
Same here... except I haven't seen or heard from my ex in nearly 16 years and have no idea where to find him.

It is worth my piece of mind however to just pay it and leave him un-located. It's not like you can get blood from a turnip anyway.

My dad never paid his share either so I have no advise for you.
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