Monday, August 3, 2015

Are changes in store for health care insurance for same-sex spouses?

The Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage in all 50 states for same-sex couples is bound to have far-reaching repercussions. In the coming months, you are sure to hear more about how the ruling is affecting income taxes, social security, retirement accounts, inheritances and, of course, health insurance.
Many issues surrounding same-sex spouses and health care have already been addressed., the official website for the Affordable Care Act, already states, “For coverage starting in 2015, an insurance company that offers health coverage to opposite-sex spouses must do the same for same-sex spouses.”
This means that as long as a couple is legally married an insurance company is not permitted to discriminate against them when offering coverage. The company must offer to same-sex spouses the same coverage it offers to opposite-sex spouses.
The Affordable Care Marketplace treats married same-sex couples the same as married opposite-sex couples when they apply for premium tax credits and lower out-of-pocket costs on private insurance plans. This is true in all states.
Legal questions remain about whether employers who provide health insurance benefits for spouses will be required to provide the same benefit to same sex couples. While the issue is not yet settled it is likely that many employers who offer health coverage to an employee’s spouse will simply offer that coverage to all spouses in the future. It simplifies administration of the plans and also avoids any discrimination issues that could result if the employer limited coverage to opposite-sex spouses.
The Supreme Court’s ruling also means that same-sex married couples have the same rights under Medicare as other married couple. If a spouse has not earned 40 credits to qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A they now can qualify for it based on the work record of their spouse, if he or she has achieved the required credits and is age 62 or older. 
Same-sex spouses will now be treated as family, so that if one spouse requires hospitalization, the other will have access to medical information regarding the hospitalized spouse’s condition, as well as to visitation rights — without having to worry about whether the specific state recognizes their marriage.
If you have any questions concerning your health or life insurance coverage, please let me know. As an independent agent, I represent many of the nation’s most respected insurance companies and will help you find the right insurance plan for you Contact me at 440-255-5700 or email me and we’ll set up a time to talk.

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