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Obama Administration Makes Changes to Medicare to Accommodate Same-Sex Marriages

Obama Administration Makes Changes to Medicare to Accommodate Same-Sex MarriagesOn Thursday, April 3, 2014, the Obama administration announced that it was taking steps to bring its Medicare rules in line with the United States Supreme Court's ruling in US v. Windsor. Specifically, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced that same-sex marriages would be recognized for determining Medicare entitlement and eligibility.

According to HHS, the “announcement helps to clarify the effects of the Supreme Court's decision and to ensure that all married couples are treated equally under the law. We are working together with the [Social Security Administration] to process these requests in a timely manner to ensure all beneficiaries, regardless of sexual orientation, are treated fairly under the law.”

HHS also indicated that the Social Security Administration may now process special enrollment periods for Medicare Part A and B and reduce late-enrollment penalties tied to the programs.

Legal battles related to bans on same-sex marriage are being waged not only on the federal level, but in many states as well. On Friday, March 21, 2014, in DeBoer v Snyder, a federal court judge struck down as unconstitutional the voter-approved Michigan Marriage Amendment that prohibited same-sex couples from marrying in Michigan. Our analysis of the implications of the DeBoer ruling for employers is available here.

If you have any questions related to the effect of the HHS announcement or the court decisions related to same-sex marriage, please contact one of the Foster Swift health care or employee benefits experts.

Categories: Employee Benefits, Insurance, Medicare/Medicaid, Providers

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With a business-minded approach, and service-oriented delivery, Mindi helps clients navigate challenges and solve problems in the areas of employee benefits law and health care law. Mindi has spoken and written extensively on employee benefits, health care reform, and health care law topics, and is actively involved in a number of legal, professional and industry organizations focused on these issues.

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