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Jan 29, 2014

BREAKING: BCBSNC to Provide Family Coverage for Same-Sex Couples and All Domestic Partners in ACA plans

Brad Wilson, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC), issued the following statement about family coverage for married same-sex couples and domestic partners.

“In order to ensure that our technology was ready for the Affordable Care Act, our company chose to postpone a number of product updates until 2015. One of these was to begin making family coverage available to same-sex married couples and domestic partners (same-sex or opposite-sex) in our ACA-approved plans.

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. We’re sorry we failed to do so.

Our employees have worked with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Department of Insurance over the past week to update our plans in order to make family coverage available sooner. Those whose policies have been cancelled can reenroll in family coverage, and we’ll work with these families to make this process as easy and seamless as possible. We appreciate our customers’ willingness to bear with us as we work to make these changes quickly. ”

  • Starting Monday, same-sex married couples and anyone in a domestic partnership may purchase new family coverage on or off the Exchange for an effective date of March 1.
  • Domestic partners and same-sex married couples who enrolled separately on ACA plans can convert them into family plans retroactive to their original effective date.
  • Small groups will have the option to offer coverage for same-sex married couples and domestic partners beginning with new and renewed plans effective April 1, 2014.
  • This change affects all of BCBSNC’s ACA plans, whether purchased on or off the exchange.

According to a statement from BCBS, approximately 20 couples had been denied family coverage under the previous policy.

The change comes following an online town hall meeting hosted by Equality NC drawing attention to cancellations of married, same-sex couples' family insurance policies by BCBSNC in the ACA marketplace.

"We are thrilled that Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has taken this important step to protect all North Carolina families, including vulnerable, same-sex couples seeking equal access to health care under the Affordable Care Act," responded Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC. "This victory is the direct result not only of the work of so many organizations like Equality NC that are seeking to provide basic protections for our community, but also the individual gay and lesbian victims of discriminatory policies who were willing and able to come forward and fight for basic protections in the state they call home. We owe this win to them, and pledge today to redouble our efforts to fight for much-needed LGBT workplace protections in communities all across the state so that their visibility and voices can lead to even more victories here in North Carolina."

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