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Does child support in Rhode Island include medical coverage?

Why pay child support? For one thing, each parent in Rhode Island is responsible for meeting his or her child's financial needs. While one may think that one's child support obligations are merely meant to cover the everyday expenses associated with raising a child, including food, housing and clothes on the child's back, the state of Rhode Island and the federal government have recognized another essential necessity: medical care. That is why the Rhode Island Child Support Services office is legally required to ensure that each child in a child support case has some sort of medical insurance coverage or, in the absence of insurance, a cash medical order.

If the child's custodial parent has state coverage via Rite Care for the child, the noncustodial parent must include his or her child under his or her private medical insurance policy, if he or she has one through his or her job or if he or she can obtain such coverage, either for free or for an amount that is considered to be reasonable. Reasonableness in this situation amounts to five percent or less of the noncustodial parent's monthly gross income. If a noncustodial parent would have to pay more than five percent of his or her monthly gross income to provide medical coverage, then five percent of his or her monthly gross income will be taken to cover the costs that the state of Rhode Island will incur to provide the child with Rite Care coverage.

If a custodial parent applies for Rite Care and meets the state eligibility requirements, that application is sent to the Rhode Island Child Support Services office. The application for Rite Care must be completed in full and contain all the necessary information regarding the noncustodial parent. It may be necessary to establish paternity for a child in order to obtain a medical order. Once a medical order is in place, the noncustodial parent's employer will be made aware of the order and the need to place the child on the parent's medical plan, if necessary.

It is a basic reality of life that a child will go through his or her share of childhood illnesses and injuries as he or she grows up. It is important that the child have the financial resources necessary to cope with these inevitable medical expenses. That is why providing health care coverage is the parent's responsibility and one that the state of Rhode Island takes seriously, for the well-being of the child.

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