US: Illinois same-sex families can now apply for joint health insurance cover

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The Illinois health insurance marketplace has announced it can now accept applications for family cover from same-sex spouses, following the rollout of same-sex marriage across the state.

Government health initiative Get Covered Illinois confirmed today that following the enactment of same-sex marriage laws in the state, measures which prevented it from giving joint plans to same-sex couples and families will no longer do so.

Previously, it could only offer individuals health plans to people in same-sex relationships, and did not cover same-sex spouses or families.

The federal Affordable Care Act, passed earlier this year, requires insurance companies to treat people in same-sex marriages equally to those in opposite-sex marriages.

A statement from Get Covered Illinois said: “Starting June 1, 2014, the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act goes into effect statewide, giving all Illinois couples, regardless of sex, the right to marry.

“This means that married same-sex couples and their children can now enroll in a plan together in Illinois and may qualify for financial help on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

“Marriage and other qualifying life events may allow you to get coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace through a Special Enrollment Period, but you must enroll in a plan within 60 days of your marriage or other life event.

“A Special Enrollment Period also allows you to make changes to your current plan, like adding your spouse and their children, changing carriers, and possibly getting financial help.”

Earlier today, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said: “All couples across Illinois can now receive the rights and protections under the sacred vow of marriage.

“The Land of Lincoln has always been a place to embrace all people and today we stand as an example for the rest of the nation.”