by Chris Huckins Google+ Email 

 

Articles tagged with: obamacare gay california

06 October 2014

Does Obamacare Recognize Married Same Sex Couples?

Posted in Latest News

Does Obamacare Recognize Married Same Sex Couples?

The battle over gay marriage in California is rife with blood, sweat, and tears as any West Hollywood bar crawl. But it gets better. 

Beginning 2015, insurance companies cannot discriminate against same-sex couples by denying benefits they give to straight couples. Similarly, gay couples may be eligible for financial assistance for the first time under Obamacare.

On Monday, October 6 the Supreme Court declined to review cases that would ban same-sex marriage in 5 states, affecting 6 more states in the same Court of Appeals region. That brings the total to 30 states where gay couples can be married. 

Gay Marriage in California

California became the second state to legalize same-sex marriage on June 16, 2008 only to ban it November 15 with 52% of voters in favor of Proposition 8.

On Feburary 7, 2012, three circuit judges had a second look at gay marriage in California. And boy did it look fetch. 

In a 2-1 decision, Judges Stephen Reinhardt and Judge Michael Hawkins ruled that Proposition 8, "Did nothing more than lessen the status and dignity of gays and lesbians and classify their relationships as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples". It also violated the Equal Protection Clause. 

But Proposition 8 proponents requested a "stay", freezing gay marriage ceremonies until the Supreme Court reviewed the case. 

On June 28, 2013, SCOTUS ruled that Prop 8 defenders had no legal standing to appeal the case in court, but requested arguments from both sides.

On August 14. the Supreme Court rejected Proposition 8's challenge and once again gay marriage was legal in California. 

Coincidentally on the same day it invalidated Proposition 8, SCOTUS struck down Section 3 of DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act). "DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment," Justice Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion.

Gay and straight couples are therefore entitled to equal access of "Social Security, housing, taxes, and veterans' benefits", including Obamacare's tax credits.

Where States Ban Gay Marriage

If a gay couple is wed in a state where same sex marriage is legal, the federal government must recognize their marriage even if they move to a state where gay marriage is banned.

Because SCOTUS didn't strike down the entire DOMA law, gay marriage bans remained in some states, but those states must still provide the aforementioned federal benefits. 

In September, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speculated to a Minnesota audience when SCOTUS may look into marriage equality. Watch the 6th Circuit Courts she said. The Supreme Court may be forced to rule on gay marriage she said. 

If conservative judges in the 6th Circuit of Appeals, specifically: Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan, uphold gay marriage bans they would contradict a majority of states that ruled gay marriage bans as unconstitutional, Ginsburg asserted.

The confusion would incentivize the Supreme Court to rule on DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) once and for all. 

Obamacare VS Gay Marriage

But there's no need to wait for court drama to sign up for health insurance with your spouse, even if you're both the same sex. 

Open enrollment starts November 15 with plans to begin January 1, 2015. Some couples are already fighting over whether to apply jointly or individually. What happened to "Till death do us file separately"? If you plan to be on the same health insurance application, you must file jointly on 2015's tax return. 

By filing jointly, both incomes will be factored into the insurance application, which may rank you out of the income bracket to qualify for financial assistance. So be mindful. Every married couple has the option to file as jointly or married and receive the appropriate benefits.

No matter what state you live in you are entitled to Obamacare's financial assistance. You simply must meet the qualifications like everyone else does. Gay or straight doesn't matter to a health insurance form.

Only 20 more states to go. 

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27 June 2013

Timeline of Insurance Rights for LGBT in California

Posted in Latest News

Timeline of Insurance Rights for LGBT in California

2002

 

February 21st -

Disability Compensation for Domestic Partners (SB 1661)

  • The family state disability program may provide up to 6 weeks of disability compensation for lost wages to individuals who leave work to care for a sick domestic partner.

 

2004

 

February 12th - March 14th -

San Francisco Issues Same Sex Marriage Licenses

  • Mayor Gavin Newsom, inspired by recently-legalized same sex marriage in Massachusetts, issues 4,000 gay couples marriage licenses, believing the state constitution granted him such power.

 

February 18th -

The California Insurance Equality Act (AB 2208)

  • All health insurance plans in California must treat spouses and domestic partners equally.

 

2008

 

June 16th -

Gay Marriage Legalized in California

  • For a 5-month window, same sex marriage is legalized.

 

November 5th -

Proposition 8 PASSED

  • A state constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage passes with a 52% majority by public vote.

 

2010

 

May 20th -

Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

  • Same sex spouses are taxed unequally to heterosexual spouses.

 

July 1st -

Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

  • Same sex domestic partners of federal employees are entitled to the same long term care insurance as spouses of federal employees.

 

July 2nd -

Federal Employees Health Benefits Program

  • Children of federal employees or of the same sex domestic partner of a federal employee are entitled to the same benefits, including vision and dental insurance.

 

September 30th -

Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Domestic Partners (AB 2055)

  • Domestic partners are treated equally as spouses to entitled unemployment benefits.

 

2011

 

September 1st -

Insurance Non-Discrimination Act (SB 757)

  • All insurance plans issued in California must grant equal coverage to domestic partners as spouses, even if the insurance company works or discriminates against domestic partners in other states.

 

2013

June 26th -

Defense Of Marriage Act REPEALED

  • Same sex spouses are treated equally in the federal tax code, federal insurance policies, and military insurance policies as heterosexual spouses.

 

June 26th -

Proposition 8 OVERTURNED

  • Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal from gay marriage opponents. Gay marriage legalized in California (again).