HHS's First Guidance Since Defense of Marriage Act Ruling Expands Rights with More to Come
Posted on Aug. 29, 2013

In its first guidance since the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, HHS clarified that all beneficiaries in private Medicare plans have access to equal coverage when it comes to care in a nursing home where their spouse lives regardless of sexual orientation.

One of the big questions left open by the Supreme Court ruling was how same sex couples’ rights might vary depending on the state in which they live.

Previously, same sex spouses often would face the choice of un-enrolling in Med Advantage and paying out of pocket to stay in the same skilled nursing facility as their spouse, or staying in a different facility all together. Whether those circumstances arose generally depended on the state in which the couple resided.

Now, assuming coverage and other traditional conditions are met, same sex couples will be treated the same under the law regardless of the state in which they live. Perhaps of greater impact, the tone of the Press Release implies there will be more guidance from HHS guaranteeing equal rights for same sex couples in the near future.

To see HHS’s press release: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2013pres/08/20130829a.html


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