CalPERS opens special window for same-sex couples to enroll in health benefits

Published: Tuesday, Jul. 23, 2013 - 10:16 am
Last Modified: Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 - 3:30 pm

With the federal Defense of Marriage Act struck down by the Supreme Court, CalPERS' health insurance plan this week declared a special open-enrollment period for same-sex couples who are already married.

The enrollment is aimed at gay couples who had been married previously but shied away from CalPERS' health plan because employees had to pay taxes on their spouses' health benefits.

Since DOMA was declared unconstitutional on June 26, those tax consequences have gone away.

But gay public employees who were already married - including those who wed in 2008, the brief window when same-sex marriage was first legal in California - didn't have a way to enroll their spouses. That's because newlywed employees normally have just 60 days to enroll their spouses in CalPERS' health plan.

This week's announcement remedies that. Effective immediately, those employees can enroll their spouses through a "one-time exception" announced by CalPERS.

"Now that DOMA has been struck down, we're going to offer this opportunity," said Amy Norris, spokeswoman for the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

The enrollment window ends Dec. 31.

Call The Bee's Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.

Read more articles by Dale Kasler

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