Rhode Island Health Insurer Reacts to DOMA Decision

Jun 26, 2013

It’s unclear how exactly Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court decision on DOMA will affect health care coverage for same-sex spouses. But Rhode Island’s largest health insurer has already been extending such benefits.

As an employer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island has been offering health coverage to its employees’ same-sex spouses since 2010, said Blue Cross compliance officer Martha Holt Castle.

“As an insurer, Blue Cross had similarly taken the position that all Rhode Islanders deserve the same level of protection," said Holt Castle, "so where we were able to dictate policy and procedure, we had already been recognizing same-sex marriages, for some time.”

The insurer has been extending benefits to same-sex partners of its customers in Rhode Island for a few years. But that was only for individual and small business customers. Larger employers who use Blue Cross only as an administrator for plans they insure themselves still get to make the decision about whom they’ll cover.

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