We hear the term “QDRO” bounced around all the time in divorce cases, but what we don’t hear often is “QMCSO.” It certainly doesn’t roll off your tongue as mellifluously, but it’s equally important. QMCSO stands for Qualified Medical Child Support Order and serves to enforce the 1993 amendment to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requiring employment-based group health plans to extend health care coverage to the children of a parent-employee who is divorced, separated, or never married.

Despite this government mandate, it is disheartening to learn of the many employers that deny extending health coverage to otherwise eligible children. Hopeless and frustrated caregivers give up and end up unnecessarily paying thousands of dollars for out-of-pocket medical coverage. Don’t let that be you.

I recently had the pleasure of assisting a client to obtain health insurance for his granddaughter, whom he had been caring for since 2006. The labor union in which Grandfather had been a loyal member for over twenty years denied health care coverage for his granddaughter, even after he presented a copy of a court order, which granted him sole legal and sole physical custody.

After unsuccessfully undergoing a lengthy and hopeless internal appeal process, Grandfather sought my assistance. We initiated the process of obtaining a QMCSO by filing a Complaint for Child Support, listing medical coverage as the specific relief sought. The Judge granted our request, and with the proper language included, the final court order was sufficient to be classified as a QMCSO. Grandfather presented the Order to his labor union, and his granddaughter now has top-tier health insurance, cost-free.

While the process can be seamless, you may want to consult an attorney to advise you of the ERISA guidelines outlining the requirements for a medical child support order to be deemed “qualified.” If you are handling the process on your own, make sure to turn to ERISA §609(a)(3), which will help you find the necessary language and content that must be identified on the order.

There is no denying that medical care is expensive, so make sure you know your and your child’s rights to pursue employer health coverage. If you want to know if your child is eligible for free medical coverage, contact Petrelli Previtera, LLC today.