Section 27-21B-10

Enforcement of health care coverage for certain employers.

(a) In any case in which a noncustodial parent is required by a court or administrative order to provide health care coverage for such child and the employer of the noncustodial parent is known to the Department of Human Resources, the department shall use the federally required medical support notice to provide notice to the employer of the requirement for employer-based health care coverage for the child through the parent of the child who has been ordered to provide health care coverage for the child unless a court or administrative order stipulates that alternative health care coverage to employer-based coverage is to be provided for a child subject to a Title IV-D child support order. In the case of an employer entered in the directory of new hires pursuant to Section 25-11-5, the department shall send the federal medical support notice to any employer of a noncustodial parent subject to the order within two business days of the entry of the employee, who is an obligor in a Title IV-D case, into the directory of new hires.

(b) Within 20 business days after the date of the medical support notice, the employer of a noncustodial parent subject to an order for health care coverage for the child shall transfer the notice to the appropriate plan providing the health care coverage for which the child is eligible. The employer shall withhold from the compensation of the noncustodial parent any employee contributions necessary for coverage of the child and shall send the amount withheld directly to the health care plan to provide the health care coverage for the child. The employee or obligor may contest the withholding order issued pursuant to this section based upon a mistake of fact and may appeal on the record to the circuit court in the county where the medical support order was issued. If the employee contests the withholding of the employee contributions, the employer shall initiate withholding of the contributions while the contest is being resolved.

(c) An employer shall promptly notify the department whenever the noncustodial parent's employment is terminated.

(d) The department shall promptly notify the employer when there is no longer a current order for medical support in effect for which the department is responsible.

(e) The liability of the noncustodial parent for employee contributions to the health care plan necessary to enroll the child in the plan shall be subject to all available enforcement mechanisms under this title or any other provision of law.

(f) When a notice required by this section which appears regular on its face and which has been appropriately completed is received by the health plan administrator, the notice shall be deemed a qualified medical child support order under 29 U.S.C . § 1169(a)(5)(C)(i). The health insurance plan administrator of a participant under a group health plan who is the noncustodial parent of the child for whom the notice was received pursuant to this subsection, shall, within 40 business days, do all of the following:

(1) Notify the State Title IV-D agency of any state or territory that issued the notice whether coverage is available for the child under the terms of the plan and, if so, whether the child is covered under the plan and either the effective date of the coverage, or if necessary, any steps to be taken by the custodial parent or official of a state or political subdivision thereof substituted for the name of the child pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1169(a)(3)(A), to effectuate coverage. The department or its contractors, in consultation with the custodial parent, shall promptly select from the available plan options when the plan administrator reports that there is more than one option available under the employer's plan. If the response is not made to the plan administrator within 20 days and the plan has a default option for coverage, the plan administrator shall enroll the child in that default option. If there is no default option, the plan administrator may call the office of the department or contractor which sent the notice and seek direction as to the enrollment of the child in the available plans.

(2) Provide the custodial parent or the substituted official a description of the coverage available and any forms or documents necessary to effectuate coverage and permit the custodial parent or substituted official to file claims.

(3) Send the explanation of benefit statements to the custodial parent, substituted official, and the employee.

(4) Send the reimbursement to the custodial parent, legal guardian, or responsible agency for expenses paid by the custodial parent, legal guardian, or substitute official for which the child may be eligible under the plan.

(5) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as requiring a group health plan, upon receipt of a medical support notice, to provide any type or form of benefit or option not otherwise provided under the group health plan except to the extent necessary to meet the requirements of a law relating to medical child support described in 42 U.S.C. § 1396g-1.

(g) The review of enrollment of a child for health insurance coverage in employer-based health coverage pursuant to this section following issuance of an order to require the noncustodial parent to provide the coverage shall be limited to a mistake of fact.

(h) An employer who fails to comply with the requirements set forth in this section may be subject to legal action. The employer may be held personally liable to the obligee for failure to withhold contributions for medical support, up to the amount of contributions which were not withheld, and in those cases, conditional and final judgment for the amounts to be withheld may be entered by a court and against the employer.

(Act 2002-404, p. 1017, §1.)