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Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Affects Couples' Health Coverage

PHOTO: Same-sex couples who marry are eligible for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act outside of the open enrollment periods, but they need to act within 60 days of their marriage. Photo courtesy of Alpine County, Calif.
PHOTO: Same-sex couples who marry are eligible for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act outside of the open enrollment periods, but they need to act within 60 days of their marriage. Photo courtesy of Alpine County, Calif.
July 6, 2015

PHOENIX - The U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage has far-reaching impacts in Arizona and across the country, including triggering a special enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act.

Montserrat Caballero, state director with the nonprofit Enroll America, which helps people get coverage through the Affordable Care Act, says marriage is among the "qualifying life events" that creates the special enrollment period.

"The Supreme Court ruling reaffirmed same-sex marriage," says Caballero. "So really, after all the celebration, it's just making sure you look at those kind of logistical things that come with marriage."

Caballero adds, couples will have 60 days from the date they marry to either get new coverage or change an existing health insurance plan.

She says childbirth, adoption, and moving outside of a person's coverage area also qualify as life-changing events. As part of the broader message, Caballero says all Arizonans can take advantage of the health coverage available to them.

"Health insurance in Arizona is available, it's affordable, financial assistance is available, and in-person enrollment assistance is also available," she says.

According the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as of three months ago, more than 10 million Americans had active health insurance through the ACA. Eighty-five percent of them are receiving an average tax credit of $272 per month to help with their premiums.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ