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U.S. Dept. Of Health: Some U.S. Health Insurances Must Cover Same-Sex Couples By 2015

This past Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' health care blog published a post by Matthew Heinz MD — Director of Provider & LGBT Outreach — stating that by 2015 any insurance companies offering coverage to opposite-sex spouses must also do the same for same-sex spouses:

HealthcaregovToday, we are clarifying that, starting next year, if an insurance company offers coverage to opposite-sex spouses, it cannot choose to deny that coverage to same-sex spouses. In other words, insurance companies will not be permitted to discriminate against married same-sex couples when offering coverage. This will further enhance access to health care for all Americans, including those with same-sex spouses.

This will undoubtedly clear up cases like the ones in which Blue Cross and Anthem denied coverage for same-sex couples under the ambiguous provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Although according to HuffPo Gay Voices, this only applies to "Qualified Health Plans... that meet the minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act and are certified by the state or federal exchange where it is purchased."

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  1. Hmmmm. I work for the (non-equality) state of Louisiana and get my coverage through my employer --the state. I wonder if this means I will finally be able to put my husband on my insurance plan.

    Posted by: Clayton | Mar 16, 2014 9:44:40 AM

  2. President Obama must be desperate. But then again who will side with this President and his disregard for our Constitution, our liberties and our privacy? You can't be a fierce advocate of the people when you undermine just about everything else about them.

    Posted by: Jay | Mar 16, 2014 10:01:56 AM

  3. As I read the articles about this, more and more this looks like it only applies to the plans that individuals can buy through the insurance exchanges - which is still huge, and great news.

    But I haven't seen anywhere that this applies to insurance plans offered by employers - whether state or private.

    Does anyone know if this mandates that employers in Red states must provide spouse insurance, or just that the plans must be made available to them to choose among, but they can choose not to offer them to their employees?

    Posted by: Lymis | Mar 16, 2014 10:03:48 AM

  4. It is going to be like the contraceptive requirement, the "religious affiliated" will complain and even take it to the courts.

    Posted by: rick | Mar 16, 2014 10:30:29 AM

  5. "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your current plan, you can keep your current plan" has been proven complete bullsht that will be recorded for this history books. It's amazing anyone believes any pander that comes out of this fool's mouth.

    Posted by: Mike | Mar 16, 2014 10:34:18 AM

  6. Mike:
    It is at least not 100% bs since certainly some are able to keep their doctors etc. You call it complete bs simply because a certain fraction of people got problems? What kind of logic is that?

    Posted by: simon | Mar 16, 2014 11:01:50 AM

  7. jay:
    Why? He is actually following the constitution as demanded by the Supreme Court as an outcome of the DOMA decision.

    Posted by: simon | Mar 16, 2014 11:04:49 AM

  8. It seems that some people are unhappy about Obama no matter what he did. Let me remind them again. Mitt lost. Your mourning period is way too long.

    Posted by: simon | Mar 16, 2014 11:07:28 AM

  9. Only in the TR comments section: greater equality for gay couples induces gay whining about Obama.

    This is part of a larger good thing as we move toward married = married, no matter where you live. Sure, the non-equality red states will attempt to do all they can to prevent equal recognition of marriages, in insurance as well as everything else, but they will be increasingly powerless to do so. The Constitution is on our side.

    As the judge in the Tennessee case wrote the other day: "At this point, all signs indicate that, in the eyes of the United States Constitution, the plaintiffs’ marriages will be placed on an equal footing with those of heterosexual couples and that proscriptions against same-sex marriage will soon become a footnote in the annals of American history."

    In other words, insurance companies, like everyone else, will no longer be able to deny reality.

    Posted by: Ernie | Mar 16, 2014 11:16:53 AM

  10. Ernie:
    The religious will come out to oppose it and will ask for "religious exemption". Hope Obama won't back down this time.

    Posted by: simon | Mar 16, 2014 11:22:11 AM

  11. @Simon: I've no doubt the religious will do just that, but an exemption that treats gay married couples differently than straight married couples won't pass constitutional muster, which the Obama administration is fully aware of when issuing such requirements.

    Posted by: Ernie | Mar 16, 2014 11:31:12 AM

  12. How about getting the link right for starters:

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Mar 16, 2014 11:42:23 AM

  13. Ernie:
    The recent news about a Catholic school principal fired for marrying a same-sex partner is an indication how those organizations will react. Now they are even required to provide insurance for those couples. It is interesting to see how it will play out.

    Posted by: simon | Mar 16, 2014 12:41:52 PM

  14. @Simon: Yes, it will be interesting to see how it plays out in religious institutions--as it already is with women's reproductive issues. But I was talking about broader opposition by the religious or anti-gay Republicans in non-equality states: they can oppose but they can't undo or deny legal marriages as the courts continue to find denial of the marriages of same-sex couples unconstitutional.

    Posted by: Ernie | Mar 16, 2014 1:49:08 PM

  15. I understand the urge to defend a president you view as having accomplished a great deal in gay rights. However , do not be blind to the fact that this guy giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other. Universal healthcare is a good thing, single payer would be even better. But it's essential to the American economy and worker that the illegal aliens be deported. It's essential to reverse Wong Kim Ark. It's essential to stop the serial immigration of "family reunification" which allows one immigrant to import ten others.

    Posted by: Enchantra | Mar 16, 2014 6:41:47 PM

  16. Enchantra, immigrants are actually *good* for our economy. Or do you think the coming labor supply issues won't cause problems as Baby Boomers retire out of the workforce?

    We *NEED* immigration in order to fuel an economy based upon the premise of constant growth. The demographics don't support any form of the xenophobia you're claiming is justified by economics.

    Posted by: jdb | Mar 16, 2014 11:16:30 PM

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