New health insurance rights for same-sex couples

Obama administration expands benefits, urges insurers to voluntarily comply
Associated Press
Mar 14, 2014

 

Acting to expand health insurance access for same-sex couples, the Obama administration said Friday that plans offering benefits for heterosexual couples must also provide coverage for married couples who are of the same gender.

The policy, posted online by the Department of Health and Human Services, takes effect next year and applies to plans offered in the health care law's new insurance markets. It also covers many — but not all — individual and employer plans offered outside that marketplace.

The administration acted after gays and lesbians complained that they're not sure how the rules of the new insurance exchanges apply to them — particularly in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage.

The department said it was moving to clarify those rules and make coverage "more accessible and equitable for married same-sex couples." It's part of a government-wide effort to codify the rights of same-sex spouses following the Supreme Court's decision last year striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and opening the way for same-sex spouses to receive government benefits.

The new HHS policy says that if an insurance company offers spousal coverage to heterosexual couples, it must also provide that benefit to same-sex couples who were legally married in a jurisdiction that recognizes marriage between people of the same sex.

The administration is urging insurers to voluntarily comply with the same-sex rule right away. It will be a requirement for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2015, or later.

Many large employer plans are already operating under similar rules issued last fall by the Labor Department. These are so-called self-insured plans in which an employer sets aside its own money to cover most of the expected medical costs of workers. Self-insured employers generally hire an insurance company to administer their benefit plan.

The new HHS rules apply instead to plans that are sold directly by insurance companies to individuals and employers, usually small to mid-sized companies.

There are exceptions:

• "Grandfathered" plans that were in existence when the health law passed four years ago and have changed very little since then do not have to offer coverage to same-sex spouses. Those plans, however, represent a dwindling share of the market.

• The new policy does not apply to Medicaid coverage for low-income people. The administration encourages states to offer Medicaid benefits to same-sex spouses, but state authorities have the final say.

Separately, HHS issued another one-month extension for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, known as PCIP. Patients in the temporary program will now have until April 30 to find a new policy. PCIP was created as a transitional program for people turned down for coverage because of health problems. The law now requires insurers to take all applicants regardless of their medical history.

Comments

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

The human body has a specific design and function.

Homosexuality is against this God given nature. They are abusing their natures, misusing their bodies (1 Cor. 6:9)

Homosexuality is a state that a person degenerates into. (Romans 1:18-32)

The Big Dog's back

Hmmmmm. Thou protest to much.

44846GWP

Agree, he has some real issues. Being a bigot is just one.

deertracker

I see the resident preacher is up and about!

ladydye_5

Do you have an original thought of your own without the bible telling you what to think? Can you say anything with out a bible verse as reference?

deertracker

The answer to that would be a big fat NO!

coasterfan

Thinkagain: the human body was also not designed so that people can use a 2000-year-old book as an excuse to practice e discrimination.

The Bible was written before the Age of Science, by people who thought the world was flat, and who thought the sun actually rose and set in the sky each day. These were people who had literally no understanding of the natural world and the way things actually work. In that respect, they were just like you are: completely clueless.

deertracker

Completely CLUELESS!

From the Grave

This article is about health care policies, not the bible.

JohnDorian12

I'm with you 110% but you're gonna get slaughtered on here by the rainbows....

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

Thanks, it’s nice to see a little support. But don’t worry about me, I’ve been a Christian for some time now and I’m used to intolerant, hateful, Christophobic people. Do you notice how those commentators of the party of “tolerance” are the most intolerant? Typical liberal hypocrisy.

FSM

If you try to back up your stance with the bible you lose by default

coasterfan

I love you, Flying Spaghetti Monster!!! Thank you for blessing us with your noodly goodness!! You are correct. You can't use the Bible to prove the validity of the Bible.

FSM

rAMEN

O Really

I could care less if you dig guys or chicks or both...... As long as my tax dollars aren't paying for their healthcare, let them share !!!!

deertracker

You are in the lead for stupidest comment of the day!

CAST THE FIRST STONE

always about the 2 percent..original crap to divert from the real crisis in the usa....over taxed

coasterfan

Oh baloney. We are taxed at historically low rates. In the 1950's, the highest tax rate was more than 90%. Today, it's less than 40%. Either you don't understand math, or you don't understand history.

KnuckleDragger

If you don't think you are taxed enough than by all means feel free to right a larger check to the IRS voluntarily. They will gladly accept it.

Contango

Re: "the 1950's, the highest tax rate was more than 90%"

Less than half the story.

With deductions and tax shelters, NO ONE with even a half-*ssed accountant paid that marginal rate.

Not surprised; based on your comments about your Fidelity investments, you're kinda lousy with numbers.

CAST THE FIRST STONE

follow a single dollar you make starting with fed tax,state tax,when you buy gas tax,when you pay property tax, when you pay tax at almost place every time you buy something with that dollar and see what you have left.

downthemiddle

Then try leaving it to your kids.

worddrow811

Maybe if everyone stopped thinking 'me' and started thinking 'we', we could change the world by making sure we care for others. There is enough and why aren't we willing to share?

coasterfan

Love your comments, readings signs. You pretty much spelled the difference between Democrats (who think of We) and Republicans (who think of Me)

O Really

Spoken like a "we" who receives some of the taxes money "me" pays in......."me" don't think its fair that the "we's" of the world get things handed to them while sitting on "we" a$$ & "me" goes to work then pays extra for "me" healthcare. I guess that's the difference between people that work & Obama supporters

worddrow811

O Really, perhaps therein lies the problem. Blaming one's life circumstances on others not being fair sets one up for failure.

For example, is it fair for a person who has a snow-thrower to only clean their sidewalks while ignoring others who are elderly and may need help? No, it's a sign of a selfish, me only, person. Do I expect anyone to shovel for me? No, but if they do, it's a sign of their kindness in thinking about others.

It has nothing to do with a political party, money or color of their skin. It has everything to do with who they are as a human being, of which we are all one.

What we do to another, we do to ourselves. What we do for another, we do for ourselves.

KnuckleDragger

So tells us, how much do you expect other people to do for you when you are an able bodied adult? Helping people who can't help themselves is a noble cause. However, helping people who are capable of helping themselves only perpetuates the problem.

worddrow811

I don't expect anyone to help me and that wasn't my point. If I can't do it, I hire someone and pay them for their time.

Here's another example for those who don't get it yet. Two people are walking towards the same door and one opens it for the other. The person who walks through the held-open door doesn't say thank you to the door-holder. The door-holder gets bent out of shape because, after all, they did something nice and expected a thank you. So, did the door-holder do it as a statement of who they are or because they expected a thank you? If one is doing it as a statement of who they are, no thanks are needed. If they did it expecting a thank you, didn't get one and got mad, that was about them and their need for approval. Are we clear yet? The person who didn't say thank you, expecting the door to be opened for them, was making a statement of who they are not.

Contango

Re: "The person who walks through the held-open door doesn't say thank you to the door-holder."

So your point is: All liberal are polite and conservatives are rude?

Anecdotal stories meaning nothing.

Move to the South, where the majority still have manners.

worddrow811

I am at a loss. How does one know a liberal from a conservative or a democrat from a republican? Do they wear labels? Are they aliens? Are they black, white or purple? Are they bald or not? Are they male or female? How do you know what they are if you pass one on the street?

Contango

Re:"I am at a loss."

So the point of your lil' vignettes is what?

worddrow811

Thank you for asking, contango. My point is other people want the same things that we do and should not be denied equal access or the opportunity to work and earn it for themselves. We cannot categorize each other and put so & so in a box labeled bad, just because they are different or come here hoping to make a better life for their families. No, I am not talking about criminals either.

I worked and paid taxes until I retired and if my working and paying taxes allows others who are in need to have food and shelter, so be it.

Bottom line, if non-hetero's want to be treated equally, they should have that equality.

Contango

Re: "we do and should not be denied equal access or the opportunity to work and earn it for themselves."

Agree.

According to the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

In other words: All "rights" are "inalienable", i.e. God given or natural.

Only govts. can restrict them.

The phrase, "pursuit of happiness," also includes property, e.g. assets.

For the govt. to forcefully take assets from one party through the method of taxation and give them to another party amounts to theft.

If one party chooses to give another party a portion of their assets, that is called charity; wholly different.

I.R.S. - It's Really Stealing.

Contango

Re: "is it fair for a person who has a snow-thrower to only clean their sidewalks while ignoring others who are elderly,"

Help 'em move to a warmer climate - problem solved.

pntbutterandjelly

@ reading signs; Bingo (!) to your entire post. Thank you. PB&J

FSM

If you want a country with no taxes and a small government I suggest you move to Somalia.

Contango

Re: "Somalia"

And if you want bigger and more oppressive govt., pack your bags for N. Korea.

CAST THE FIRST STONE

smart reply....iq test required

worddrow811

Thank you, coasterfan,it's a gift.

CAST THE FIRST STONE

really...dems keep poor people poor. they feed off taxrs collected so of course you like it

deertracker

@coaster
Agreed!

KnuckleDragger

I am willing to share. You see, we differ on the entity we believe is best suited to help others. The government can't run anything effectively or efficiently, that is why I prefer to give my money to a charity. Liberals believe the government is the vehicle for providing social justice, conservatives believe the individual is. While people like coasternut make up things about conservatives being heartless, many of us give far more in charity every year than we pay in taxes. In fact it really isn't that uncommon for someone to see me paying for homeless persons meal, etc. through frequent random acts of kindness. Most liberals I know are all talk. They are the biggest tight wads I know. Liberals proclaim their righteousness to everyone who will listen but few of them put their own money where their mouths are. Take a look at the top states for charitable contributions and you will quickly find that the number one spot is held by the most conservative state in the nation. In fact in an ABC news study of the top five states that contribute most to charity, only one leans democrat.

FSM

Conservatives that give to charities are far more likely to give their money to to their local church. (i.e. throwing it away). If you take church donations out of the mix liberals give far more.
A little light reading. http://ssrn.com/abstract=2148033

deertracker

Do you pay for that homeless person's meal with your gov't check? How nice of you!!!!!!

Contango

Re: "expand health insurance access,"

Major problem:

Employer provided health ins. is provided tax free to the employee.

Individual health ins. is paid for with after tax dollars.

Level the playing field.

Either begin taxing employee benefits or allow all individuals to deduct their health ins. premiums.

O Really

All health care can create a tax reduction if you work...just write it off when you file at the end of the year!

Contango

Re: "if you work..."

Believe that only applies to self-employed.

AND if you aren't and your employer doesn't provide for health benefits?

What about the premiums paid by employees? Why aren't they deductible?

Level the playing field.

BabyMomma

I take care of my neighbors driveways. I will always lend a helping hand to whoever is in need. But I don't trust, not even for a millisecond, that our government will do the right thing with my money. I will spend all evening after work helping my neighbors with whatever they may need, but I don't want to give ANY money to foreign countries! PERIOD. It was all fun and games when we were the power house of the world. Now we're a joke because we gave it all up. Let people come here for free, treated them BETTER than our own citizens. Then we re-elect the biggest FAILURE to ever be President. Yea, we're pretty awesome.

worddrow811

re; we're a joke because we gave it all up.

The people elected to represent us gave it all up. We need to clean house and start over. Our life, liberty and the persuit of happiness have been left in the dust while the 1% are laughing all the way to the bank.

Thank you for helping others, too.

Contango

Re: "the 1% are laughing all the way to the bank."

Thank the Federal Reserve's ZIRP & QE policies.

Actually the 5,10 & 20% are doin' well too.

worddrow811

please explain ZIRP & QE. I grew up when we used words. thank you

Contango

Re: "thank you"

Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP)

Quantitative Easing (QE)

Clearer?

You're welcome.

worddrow811

yes, clearer, and now I'll go see what it means. Have a nice day.

pntbutterandjelly

"Equality" for some means picking and choosing who is "equal".

Without real, meaningful (and if must...enforceable) equality...we can begin to segregate ourselves into an ever more fractionalized species. We could separate/segregate by; nationality, skin color, gender, religious beliefs, income strata, intellectual capacity, physical limitations, height, length of hair, number of teeth, size of ear lobes, eye color, _ _ _, _ _ _. Eventually this scenario would come full circle and... cast out those casting out others. Funny how that works.

*OF COURSE THE GAY COMMUNITY NEEDS TO BE INCLUDED!*

pntbutterandjelly

The people who should be segregated, ostracized or jailed are the ones who lie, cheat, steal or "game the system" in any way for their personal benefit. These people span all of humanity. THEY are the ones who have necessitated the implementation of laws and therefore are not deserving of collective consideration or assistance.

pntbutterandjelly

A "good" person is a good person and we sincerely need all the good people we can find for the betterment of humanity as a whole.

pntbutterandjelly

Freedom, democracy and human rights are, or should be, universal.

pntbutterandjelly

2014 years later...we are still missing the point.

pntbutterandjelly

2014 years later we are still missing His point.

pntbutterandjelly

2014 years later we are still missing His point.

pntbutterandjelly

2014 years later we are still missing His point.