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A Supreme Court ruling June 26, 2015, declared same-sex marriage a right in all 50 states.1,2 Now that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide, married same-sex couples have access to the same legal rights and benefits as all married couples, and their marriages will be recognized on birth certificates, death certificates and other official documents.
But what does it mean in terms of health insurance?
The Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling does not require employers to offer health insurance coverage to same-sex spouses, as one benefits lawyer explained to NPR.3
However, due to existing state laws, federal law prohibiting sex discrimination, and company policies, same-sex spouses will likely gain greater access to health benefits as a result of the ruling. And, as explained by the Kaiser Family Foundation, many experts believe that private employers that limit spousal coverage to opposite-sex spouses would likely be found in violation of federal Civil Rights law.4
By law, all legally married same-sex partners that are federal employees, federal contractors, members of the military, veterans and state employees have access to spousal benefits.5
As of Jan. 1, 2015, health insurance companies that offer major medical health insurance coverage to opposite-sex spouses must also make the same coverage available to same-sex spouses.6
If couples are legally married, insurance companies cannot discriminate against them. This applies regardless of the state where the couple lives; where the insurance company is located; and where the plan is sold, issued, renewed or in effect.7
As with heterosexual married couples, if a married same-sex couple buys a health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace and files a joint federal tax return for that year, they may be eligible for income-based premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions.8
Many supplemental health plans also offer coverage to same-sex married couples. Health eDeals’ supplemental plans, including dental insurance, critical illness, telemedicine and gap plans, as well as temporary coverage in the form of short term health insurance, are all available to same-sex married couples.
Find supplemental plans for you and your partner at healthedeals.com.
1 Liptak, Adam. “Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide.” The New York Times. June 26, 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/27/us/supreme-court-same-sex-marriage.html?_r=0
2 Please note that the Supreme Court ruling may not apply to recognized Native American tribal jurisdictions; these are sovereign nations with the powers to govern themselves and establish their own laws. Many tribal nations do not address the recognition of marriage, or other relationships, between same sex couples. If you have questions about the laws of a particular tribe, check with that tribal government. http://www.refinery29.com/2015/07/90531/native-american-tribes-same-sex-marriage; http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/handful-of-holdout-tribes-dig-in-against-gay-marriage/; http://www.nclrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Relationship_Recognition.pdf at p. 23
3 Hancock, Jay. “Supreme Court’s Decision on Same-Sex Marriage Expected to Boost Health Coverage.” June 29, 2015. http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/06/29/418520819/supreme-courts-decision-on-same-sex-marriage-expected-to-boost-health-coverage
4 The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. “Health Reform FAQ: Non-Traditional Households.” http://kff.org/health-reform/faq/health-reform-frequently-asked-questions/#section-non-traditional-households
6 Prior to the Supreme Court ruling this applied only to same-sex couples married in a jurisdiction that legally authorized the marriage. HealthCare.gov. “Same-Sex Married Couples.” https://www.healthcare.gov/married-same-sex-couples-and-the-marketplace/
This document is for general informational purposes only. While we have attempted to provide current and accurate information, this information is provided "as is" and we makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness. The information provided should not be construed as legal or tax advice or as a recommendation of any kind. External users should seek professional advice from their own attorneys and tax and benefit plan advisers with respect to their individual circumstances and needs.
SHORT-TERM MEDICAL EXPENSE (STM)
THIS IS A SHORT TERM HEALTH BENEFIT PLAN THAT IS NOT INTENDED TO QUALIFY AS THE MINIMUM ESSENTIAL COVERAGE REQUIRED BY THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (ACA). UNLESS YOU PURCHASE A PLAN THAT PROVIDES MINIMUM ESSENTIAL COVERAGE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACA, YOU MAY BE SUBJECT TO A FEDERAL TAX PENALTY. ALSO, THE TERMINATION OR LOSS OF THIS POLICY DOES NOT ENTITLE YOU TO A SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD TO PURCHASE A HEALTH BENEFIT PLAN THAT QUALIFIES AS MINIMUM ESSENTIAL COVERAGE OUTSIDE OF AN OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD. THIS POLICY INCLUDES A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION EXCLUSION PROVISION.
About The IHC Group
The IHC Group is an organization of insurance carriers and marketing and administrative affiliates that has been providing life, health, disability, medical stop-loss and specialty insurance solutions to groups and individuals for over30 years. Members of The IHC Group include Independence Holding Company (NYSE:IHC), American IndependenceCorp. (NASDAQ: AMIC), Standard Security Life Insurance Company of New York, Madison National Life Insurance Company, Inc. and Independence American Insurance Company. Each insurance carrier in The IHC Group has a financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) from A.M. Best Company, Inc., a widely recognized rating agency that rates insurance companies on their relative financial strength and ability to meet policyholder obligations. (An A++ rating from A.M. Best is its highest rating.) Collectively, the companies in The IHC Group provide insurance coverage to more than one million individuals and groups. For more information about The IHC Group, visit www.ihcgroup.com.
About IHC Specialty Benefits, Inc.
IHC Specialty Benefits, doing business as Health eDeals Insurance Solutions is a full-service marketing and distribution company that focuses on small employer, individual and consumer products. Health eDeals markets products through general agents online, telebrokerage, advisor centers, private label and directly to consumers. For more information about Health eDeals visit www.HealtheDeals.com.