Same-sex couples faces health insurance setbacks

Mar 4, 2014 | Health Insurance Billing

When the Supreme Court ruled that a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act was ruled unconstitutional, it opened up opportunities for same-sex couples. Now, the Department of Justice's latest decision will allow these couples to be entitled to survivor benefits, prison visits and other federal legal matters, CNN reported.

Although same-sex marriage is not legal in 34 states, the DOJ's policy to recognize same-sex couples and their marriages is intended to provide "equal treatment for all members of society regardless of sexual orientation," according to a memo Attorney General Eric Holder wrote to employees.

This recent change may cause married same-sex couples to apply for a new health insurance plan, one that may not go into effect for another month. While this may not be a problem for Washington D.C. and states that legally recognize same-sex marriage, accounts receivable services across 34 states should expect another string of errors and delays.

NPR provided insight on these troubles in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, where same-sex marriage is considered illegal. Thomas Hafke and Chad Higby were initially approved for their silver-level health insurance policy, then rejected and reinstated again.

Initially, North Carolina health insurance providers said that they would delay implementing these changes to keep up with health information technology requirements, but Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina CEO Brad Wilson decided to expedite approval anyway.

"We should have more thoughtfully considered this decision, with full appreciation of the impact it would have on same-sex married couples and domestic partners," Wilson said in a statement. "We're sorry we failed to do so."

The price for health insurance remains the same if a household is under two individual or a single family plan. Doctor offices and hospitals that are experiencing significant backlog may want to consider outsourcing a collection of their patient records to alleviate this ongoing issue.