New Rules Expand Healthcare Access for Children

December 27, 2000 ( - Final rules from the Labor Department will make it easier for plan sponsors to know when to extend health coverage to children of noncustodial parents under a court order.

The final rule provides a uniform National Medical Support Notice to be used by individual states in child support enforcement actions. The notice is also designed to help health plan administrators recognize and accept the orders as qualified medical child support orders under section 609(a) of ERISA.

The rule implements provisions of the Child Support Performance and Incentive Act of 1998, designed to help children gain access to coverage under their noncustodial parents? employer-based group health plans. The regulation will be effective in 30 days – January 26, 2001.

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Medical child support orders require noncustodial parents to include their children under employer-based health insurance coverage. The orders are established and enforced by the state child support enforcement agencies.

At the same time, the Department of Health and Human Services also is issuing final rules under the Social Security Act implementing the use of the National Medical Support Notice by state agencies that administer child support enforcement programs.

The notice is in today’s Federal Register

– Nevin Adams