Employers are making great progress in providing health care benefits for domestic partners, however it has not yet been adopted by the government. Luckily in 2011, 52% of all employers in the US provided coverage for same-sex couples. While same-sex partners can legally marry, benefits are still being withheld and thus infuriating a great many Americans.
In order to break the barriers between hetero and same-sex marriage rights, the Defense of Marriage Act needed to be repealed, an effort that successfully made its way in and out of the Supreme Court. This was a law made under President Clinton that established marriage as strictly between a woman and a man. As same-sex couples are allowed the right to marry in some states, this law was antiquated, denying many the benefits they deserve under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHB). A repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act was brought before the Supreme Court by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in November 2012, and closed in June 2013. The case was a major win for the LGBTQ community, striking down DOMA and allowing gay marriage to continue in California and be federally recognized on equal terms with male-female marriages.
Previously, DOMA thwarted married couples in states where same-sex marriage was legal by denying federal benefits such as Social Security, immigration rights, family leave and health insurance. This doesn’t prevent states from trying to place their own bans against gay marriage and rights to health benefits, however.
Currently, statistics show that the Western US is giving the most health insurance benefits given to same-sex partners (79% of large companies). In the South, however, only 28% of large companies are offering these services. The type of work you do will also determine the amount of benefits you receive. The coverage varies from one industry to another. 96% of pharmaceutical companies provided coverage while manufacturers of machinery was 18 %.
Still banned in at least 31 states, gay marriage is making its way (slowly) to overall government approval. Though accepted by the President, rights regarding health insurance have not changed in many states.
If you live in a discriminatory state, if you and your partner do not have coverage under an employer, or your employer is not providing fair benefits to same-sex couples, you can still apply for an individual plan. With the creation of health insurance exchanges and the freedom to purchase your own coverage with a private company, there are more options than just getting on your spouse’s policy these days. Additionally, it may be cheaper, and not all employers are offering coverage to dependents in an attempt to reduce costs.
Your next move? Well, you can move to a legal marriage state, or if you’re just looking for ways to get covered, fill out a quote online or call one of our agents to exercise your rights at 888-803-5917.