On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that a central piece of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. As a result, the federal government should recognize same-sex marriages that are valid under state law
How will this ruling affect your company?
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts plans already cover same-sex spouses. However, prior to this ruling, employer-paid benefits for same-sex spouses were regarded as taxable income. As a result of this decision, the dollar value of health care coverage for same-sex spouses should no longer be considered taxable income for the subscriber under most employer plans. This may encourage your employees to add their same-sex spouse to their policy.
How can subscribers add a same-sex spouse to their Blue Cross plan?
At your direction, we will offer a 90-day Open Enrollment period for same-sex spouses from June 26, 2013 through September 26, 2013. The effective date will be at your discretion, within this timeframe. During this special Open Enrollment period, same-sex spouses and their dependents, who are not already enrolled in their spouse's current policy, can be added to it. Please note that standard rules regarding dependent coverage continue to apply.
Before offering this enrollment period to existing same-sex spouses, please consult with your legal and tax counsel to determine if there are any legal, tax, or other implications—especially for Section 125 cafeteria plans.
We await further guidance from the federal government on the ruling, and we will notify you of any important updates. If you have any questions, please contact your account executive or account service consultant.