STATEMENT: CAP Experts on HHS Taking Action to Remedy Insurance Discrimination Against Same-Sex Spouses

American Progress's picture
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Contact: Anne Shoup
Phone: 202.481.7146

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, released new guidance clarifying that the Affordable Care Act prohibits insurers from discriminating against same-sex spouses who wish to purchase health coverage as a family.

The announcement comes in the wake of cases from states such as North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio where insurance companies selling plans through the health insurance marketplaces barred same-sex spouses enrolling in family coverage. The new guidance clarifies that the Affordable Care Act’s protections against discriminatory marketing practices and benefits designs require insurers selling spousal or other family coverage through the marketplaces in any state to make the same coverage available to legally married same-sex couples.

Last summer, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex spouses are entitled to the same rights and protections as any other couple under federal law. This action by HHS is a significant step forward in ensuring that the benefits of health reform reach all who need them, including same-sex spouses and their families,” said Laura Durso, Director of the LGBT Research and Communication Project at the Center for American Progress.

“Research has shown that same-sex couples, as well as transgender people and other members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, communities, frequently face obstacles to affordable, comprehensive insurance coverage,” said Kellan Baker, Director of CAP’s LGBT State Exchanges Project. “My colleagues and I look forward to working with HHS to ensure that this guidance is fully implemented in a timely manner and that similar action is taken remove other barriers to coverage, such as discriminatory insurance exclusions that target transgender people.”

The guidance strongly encourages insurers to comply with its requirements before the end of the open enrollment period on March 31, although companies have until the beginning of the next plan year—January 1, 2015—to fully bring their policies in line with federal requirements. It does not speak to whether family coverage must also be available to domestic partners or people in civil unions.

To speak to an expert, contact Anne Shoup at or at 202.481.7146.


To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund)

202.741.6285 or

Print: Anne Shoup (foreign policy and national security, energy, LGBT issues, health care, gun-violence prevention)

202.481.7146 or

Print: Crystal Patterson (immigration)

202.478.6350 or

Print: Madeline Meth (women's issues, Legal Progress, higher education)

202.741.6277 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi

202.741.6258 or

TV: Lindsay Hamilton

202.483.2675 or

Radio: Chelsea Kiene

202.478.5328 or

News Source : STATEMENT: CAP Experts on HHS Taking Action to Remedy Insurance Discrimination Against Same-Sex Spouses

Copy this html code to your website/blog to embed this press release.


Post new comment

9 + 7 =

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
Page execution time was 967.47 ms.

Memory usage:

Memory used at: devel_init()=2.13 MB, devel_shutdown()=22.62 MB.