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Steven  K.
Steven K., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1642
Experience:  I have practiced family law since 1996, focusing on child custody and domestic violence
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My husband has an adult child with mental disabilities from

Resolved Question:

My husband has an adult child with mental disabilities from a previous marriage. The family court system sends him a letter every year stating that he must provide health coverage for his daughter, which he does.
Legally, they are "co-guardians" although only my husband provides health care coverage. His daughter is in the custody of her mother. Her mother is the one taking her to doctor's visits. Her mother has my husband's medical card to present to the doctors when taking his daughter for visits.
However, there is an issue that the mother does not confer with my husband before taking their daughter for various doctors' visits nor when filling prescriptions. All of the bills for copays or uncovered benefits just show up in the mail for my husband out of the blue.
I'm concerned mostly because the mom here does not seem to understand the concept of "in network" doctors and just takes my husbands' daughters to whatever providers she wants, and my husband doesn't have any say or input into this, yet we get the bill in the mail for uncovered items and copays without having any control over how she is spending our money on uncovered medical expenses. If she takes the daughter to the correct in-network doctors, this would not be a problem - but she doesn't! How can this be handled?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Steven K. replied 1 year ago.

Steven Kincaid :

Thank you for allowing me to assist you.

Steven Kincaid :

You can go to court and ask the court to require her to use in network providers when it is reasonable to do so and ask the court to release your husband for additional liability caused by her choice to use out of network providers instead. There is no guarantee that the request would be granted, but it is not uncommon for judges to grant these requests. The usual exceptions is where there is not a local provider in network, or where there is a medical reason that the patient must go out of network. You can also ask for court orders regarding communication between the parents re medical treatment.

Steven Kincaid :

Do you have any other questions?

Customer:

If he doesn't get any of these court orders, is he personally liable for everything she does to incur charges, even if he is not present?

Steven Kincaid :

What do you mean by "everything she does to incur charges?"

Steven Kincaid :

Do you mean the medical bills that arise from her actions? That would depend on the exact wording of the court order. Does the court order specify how medical bills are to be paid? Is it the bills from the providers being sent to you or the Explanation of Benefits from the insurance company?

Customer:

The court order says that he is to provide health coverage for his daughter, which he does. It is the bills from the providers that come to us - things not covered by the insurance company....copays and non-covered things.

Steven Kincaid :

If the court order is silent as to how the parentsare to pay the bills, the parents have an equal obligation - he is not solely responsible for those bills.

Steven Kincaid :

Rather than simply refusing to pay the bills though, your husband may want to go to court and ask the court to decide what percentage of the mdical bills each parent should pay. The creditors can go after either parent for the entire amount, but a court order would grant a right of reimbursement to a party who pays more than his portion of the bill.

Steven Kincaid :

If your husband decides to stop paying the whole bill, he should notify the creditors/providers of the change in his intent to pay the bills.

Customer:

Thanks for all your help - one more thing I am thinking is that when one is at the doctor's office, they usually you have you sign a form that says you are the responsible party and will pay the bill should the insurance company not cover it. My husband is not there (because his ex is taking the daughter to these providers, not him) and so he is not the one signing the form - she is. Does that in and of itself provide some sort of protection, even though she is giving them his name as the person roviding coverage?

Steven Kincaid :

Not in Pennsylvania because in PA, parents are responsible for the medical bills of their adult, disabled children. It is a responsibility created by the law, not by the contract that the mother signs. Hope that helps!

Customer:

thanks :)

Steven K., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1642
Experience: I have practiced family law since 1996, focusing on child custody and domestic violence
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