Same-sex couples who are not legally married will not receive federal benefits afforded to married couples, the US Office of Personnel Management have confirmed.
In a Federal Employees Health Benefits carrier letter, the changes to health and insurance cover for same-sex married couples is outlined. These changes came about as a result of the Supreme Court DOMA ruling,on June 26th, in which it was upheld that DOMA was unconstitutional.
However, the letter also states that the cover does not extend to domestic or civil partnership unions:
Same-sex spouses of FEHB enrollees will now be eligible for benefits currently available toopposite-sex spouses of FEHB enrollees. When covered, same-sex spouses have the sameprivileges as opposite-sex spouses covered under FEHB. The purpose of this letter is to provide information that will assist you in implementing this change.[…]As a result of the Supreme Court ’s decision, legally married same -sex spouses will now be eligible family members under a Self and Family enrollment. Coverage will be available to a legally married same-sex spouse of a Federal employee or annuitant, regardless of his or her state of residency. This decision does not extend coverage to registered domestic partners or those employees or annuitants in civil unions [our emphasising in bold – Eile].In addition, the children of same-sex marriages will be treated in the same manner as those of opposite-sex marriages and will be eligible family members according to the same eligibility guidelines. This includes coverage for children of sa me-sex spouses as stepchildren.
The letter also emphasises that the same guidelines must be followed when registering a same-sex spouse as when registering an opposite-sex spouse, and that no new rules can be introduced that could be seen as impeding or creating barriers to that registration :
You must follow the same procedures you currently follow when adding an opposite- sex spouse or child(ren) of an opposite- sex marriage to a Self and Family enrollment , and you should not impose any new rules that could be viewed as having either the purpose or effect of creating barriers to enrollment for legally married same – sex couples.
The benefits for same-sex married couples also extend to children and stepchildren.
Those married before the DOMA ruling will be treated as new marriages, and the sixty day period for enrolment of spouse and children will apply to them, in the same way as for those married after June 26th, the date of the DOMA ruling.