Changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure May Impact How Health Insurance is Addressed in Family Law Support Matters
Recently, a revision to the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court regarding how health insurance is addressed in Child Support, Spousal Support and Alimony pendent lite (“Support”) went into effect. Most of these changes will likely have minimal impact however one minor addition could have a major effect for some families.
The Court has added Rule 1910.16-6(c)(4), stating: “If the trier of fact determines that out-of-network medical expenses were not obtained due to a medical emergency or other compelling factors, the court may decline to assess any such expenses against the other party.” In this revision, the Supreme Court not only acknowledges that there could be a large cost difference between out-of-network and in-network medical expenses, it also places the burden on the person receiving Support to actively seek in-network medical care, with limited exception.
This change could cause an increase in unplanned medical expenses. It is also possible that medical expenses that were previously covered may no longer be covered, and parties seeking reimbursement will need to use due diligence in seeking in-network and insured medical care going forward.
Accordingly, it is advisable for anyone currently paying for or receiving Support to review all medical expenses incurred year to date, to think about future medical care and who will be providing that care. Otherwise, the party incurring those out-of-network expenses may be left holding the bill.
Author: Hugh J. Algeo, IV