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Topics: Obamacare

HHS requires insurance companies that cover spouses to recognize gay marriages

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Gay Marriage,Obamacare,DOMA,Kathleen Sebelius,HHS,Insurance Industry

Insurance companies that provide plans covering spouses must extend that coverage to couples in gay marriages, according to a new rule from the Health and Human Services Department.

"In other words, insurance companies will not be permitted to discriminate against married same-sex couples when offering coverage," HHS director of LGBT outreach Matthew Heinz wrote in a blog post previewed by the Huffington Post's Jennifer Bendery. Bendery said that the rule takes effect in the "2015 plan year."

The policy change comes in light of last year's Supreme Court ruling overturning the Defense of Marriage Act. In August, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that same-sex couples would qualify for Medicare Advantage.

“HHS is working swiftly to implement the Supreme Court's decision and maximize federal recognition of same-sex spouses in HHS programs,” Sebelius said on Aug. 29. “Today's announcement is the first of many steps that we will be taking over the coming months to clarify the effects of the Supreme Court's decision and to ensure that gay and lesbian married couples are treated equally under the law.”

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