Health Insurance Premiums in Tennessee Child Support

Health insurance premiums and medical insurance policy costs for children in Tennessee child support law.  In general, most parents will choose the best health insurance policy available and that parent will pay the medical insurance policy premium monthly cost which can be added to the child support calculation.

The general rule for health and medical insurance premiums is that if the medical and/or dental needs of the children can be obtained by a parent at a reasonable cost, then the amount of that premium must be included in the ASO.

The amount that is included is the cost that is attributable to the children in question.  In other words, in applying the Guidelines, the court will look at the amount spent for insurance for that particular child.  The cost of insurance for other persons (for example, the parent himself or herself, or children from another marriage) is not included.  This is an easy calculation if the insurance premium is broken down by person.  The amount used is the premium for the children in question.

However, in many cases, it’s not possible to verify the exact amount for each child.  Many employers offer health insurance for an entire family, without a specific additional amount for each child.  For example, a parent might have health insurance coverage that covers all children, and the parent is paying one premium amount for three children.  If one of those children is from another marriage, then the amount must be prorated.  In those cases, the court will start with the total premium, and divide that amount by the total number of persons covered.  This will be the amount that is attributed to each child.  Therefore, in this example, two-thirds of the premium for the children would be attributed to the children of this marriage.

Or, for example, the parent might be paying a single premium that covers him or herself, in addition to the children.  In this case, the total premium would be divided by the total number of people, and this amount would be the cost per child.

Once computed, the cost of the children’s medical insurance is added to the BCSO and becomes part of the ASO.  If the health care expense is completely paid by someone other than the parent, then the amount paid is not added to the BCSO.

(It should be noted that TennCare and Medicaid are not considered “insurance” for the purposes of the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines.  Therefore, a Court cannot order participation in either of these programs to provide for the children’s health care needs.)

See the introduction to this page, Important Expenses Added to the Tennessee Child Support Calculation.

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