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Can I be forced to pay?

Just a quick one. I feel sure of my position but would welcome some confirmation.

I pay $1500 a month in child support. I pay on time every month, no arrears.

My ex wants to take out private health care cover for the children. She wants me to pay half of this in addition to child support. I disagree, believing that health care is covered by child support and whilst I have no objection to her taking out private health care, I will not be liable to paying any part of the monthly premiums in addition to child support.

On that basis she is insisting that if I am refusing to pay half the monthly premiums, then I am liable to pay half any additional costs due to a claim BEFORE any rebate and/or reimbursements due to a medicare and or private health care claim.  She says I should not receive any benefit (her words) from her solely paying the premiums. Naturally I don't agree with that either although I have suggested that I might be willing to pay half the additional costs AFTER reimbursements and/or rebates due to a claim.

In reality I don't believe I am liable for any of these costs at all given I am paying child support. Is that correct or am I being too harsh by refusing to pay half the premiums, or too soft by agreeing to pay half costs due to a claim after reimbursements?

Last edit: by GoodDad

I believe that unless you agree to it, that you would not be liable to contribute to any private health care payments. In fact when I looked into private health care (2007) and took some out, I asked the ex if she would be willing to pay part of the difference between the cost for myself and my wife and the cost to include my son (the ex was the primary carer then) and I would then have him added thus allowing benefits (actually I would still have got the cover if the ex disagreed). Anyway as it turned out the policy included children at no extra cost at all. Certainly the cost to add a child would not be 50% of the cost. If I recall correctly of all the funds I checked only one, the defence force's scheme, actually had a different charge for including children.

I also believe that single parents (may only be single mothers) can get reductions for private healthcare, perhaps based upon the ex's line of thinking, she should be paying you for this reduction, if she could claim as a single parent.

I believe that you are also correct in determining that such amounts are part of what CS is for, the cost of a child was based upon research that equated to something around $500,000 for their first 21 years for the average child and therefore includes most normal circumstances such as schooling, medical costs and costs for extra-curricular activities.

The ex, could try (well actually should not be able) for a change of assessment however I believe this is not a special situation under which a reason 2 change of assessment should be made (note the use of should as the CSA have been known to make some very extraordinary decisions when it comes to what is considered as special circumstances, which all appear to fit in the collect more at any cost model that appears to be used very frequently by the CSA). I don't believe that this could be considered as training or education and thus would not come in as a reason 3 change of assessment, although it could be considered caring, but then it is obviously not the level of care expected (that is unless such cover was previously provided). All the other 8 reasons are even further away from including this.

It would appear that this is an attempt to exploit the child or children for monetary gain, which should, in my opinion, constitute an abuse of the child or children.

It could be a different matter if the matter were taken to court, however I suspect that an attempt to do so, would likely fail. Perhaps the SRL's would like to comment on this aspect.

Note by children I mean biological children, not just any children. I'm sure the policies word this better than I have.

Last edit: by MikeT

Thanks MikeT.

Perhaps I should put this in a little more context. My ex and I have been in court on time the children should spend with me. We got interim orders last year. The case is due now to proceed to trial. However we are now trying to finalise orders by consent to avoid the need to go back to court. We are due back in court in early July.

Thus this represents about the final sticking point now. I believe I am not liable to pay extra just because she chooses to get private health care cover for the children.

So, if the matter is not resolved shortly, we may well be in court arguing this issue shortly.
Have you checked out the difference between what it would cost without the children and what it would cost with? Perhaps then offer to pay half the difference, which could well be half of $0. As an alternative what if you were to get the insurance and ask the other parent to contribute half (I wonder what the response would be then).

Do you have anything in the way of evidence that everything else has very much been agreed to?

Another question, is there any history of such insurance?

Last edit: by MikeT

Everything else is agreed to without prejudice.

Fact is I am accepting one less night then I set out to obtain in court, but I have agreed to accepting that one less night, on the basis of certain other inclusions in the orders which have generally been agreed. The private health care issue is one she has stuck in there in the last minute. I am reluctant to provide her with anything additional towards private health care because in reality it just translates to additional pocket money for her to spend on herself.

I am prepared to go back to court on the issue. I don't see that this issue would even be considered by a judge since my application is for time with the children and has nothing to do with money. She basically wants me to pay her more money to avoid going to court again. As a matter of principle, I will not do that.
Perhaps you could "soften" her order by changing the wording to: that the parents will be 50% of the OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES upon presentation of a receipt for medical treatment…..

The capitals are my emphasis.

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Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Well 50% of out of pocket expenses I am prepared to pay and that is what I have offered. But she says that if I am not contributing additional to the premiums then I should pay 50% of whatever the medical costs are before health insurance rebates. A ridiculous proposal as an overnight stay in a private hospital would run in to the $1000's and I am expected to pay to her half of that whereas she would recoup the full amount from the health fund anyway. She's nuts of course. Unfortunately this is the level of logic I have been dealing with from this woman right through this debacle.

I haven't looked a private health insurance in years but

The situation used to be that the "Family" premium was double the single rate.

If this is still the case then a possible strategy would be to offer to pay 25% wich is effectively half the premium for the children.

I don't think the Court would order private health insurance unless there are existing health concerns to justify such an order. An effective argument in rebutal (at Court level) would be to point out that children already get priority treatment in Hospital and that generaly children get priority in the health system.

While CSA may consider Private Health Insurance as a special need, it is unlikely to succeed if a reasoned argument is offered. Besides CSA generally take the attitude that it was something the parents did before separation (Education) or want to see the receipts.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
I'd advise checking out a comparison site e.g. Iselect, and running some scenarios through it. Perhaps also give them a call, they should be better able to explain what charges would be relevant for children.

I ran one through, for a couple came out at $224 (excluding lhc), ran as a family with the same details and that came out as $187(excluding lhc) per month (not sure how), so for some reason there is a reduction from couple to family.

lhc = lifetime health cover, a 2% government charge for every year after 30 that you did not have cover.

Note that I don't see options for children alone.

If the other parent were insistent and if, as I'm pretty sure is the case, that basically there is little if any charge for the inclusion of children, and this went to court I guess you could use this to your advantage to show that the other parent is not really considering the children but is really considering them-self. Again the SRL-Resource people may be able to assist in putting such an argument forward.
Thanks for all advice guys. In the end I have decided to capitulate in the interests of getting some orders finalised and putting an end to to all the aggravation.

The fact is that if we all go on the same health scheme (which is what we have now agreed) and I pay half and she pays half, it actually gives me a saving on what my single private health cover was to be. (A marginal saving but a saving just the same). It does however give her a more significant saving.

So basiscally it doesn't cost me anymore but gives her more pocket money. I guess my big problem with this thing was her having more money in her pocket which I didn't think she deserved after the year from hell she has caused me.

Anyway, time to put it behind us and get on with life. I have some questions about getting the consent orders finalised now which I will post in the members only forum.
GoodDad said
Anyway, time to put it behind us and get on with life.

In some respects one of the wisest things to do. Oh and well done for working things out between yourselves.
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