DOMA’s Impact on Group Benefits

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**UPDATE: On July 22 a court ruled that Ohio must recognize same-sex couples legally married in another state.  Ohio’s Attorney General is in the process of drafting an appeal.

Wondering what the impact of DOMA will be on insurance benefits?

Here is what our team has determined so far:

On June 26, 2013 the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling declaring a section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.  This provision of DOMA defined “marriage” as a legal union between one man and one woman and “spouse” as a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.  The ruling eliminates the need for benefits administrators to treat same-sex couples differently for some benefits, but the same for others in states that recognize same-sex marriage.

Because the Supreme Court’s ruling did not include Section 2 of the law that allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex individuals as spouses, even if the individuals were legally married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages, groups may have some unanswered questions on how to provide coverage.

Ohio is a state that strictly defines marriage between a man and a woman and does not recognize same sex marriages that occur legally in a different state.  Because of this, groups do not have to offer the same benefits to married same-sex couples as married couples.  At this point, the decision on whether or not to offer benefits to same-sex couples rests in the hands of the employer and the insurance carrier.

If you have more questions about how DOMA may impact your benefits, contact one of the experts at AUI.

Thank you!

2019-03-07T20:31:26-05:00