Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Healthcare Coverage: Huge Stakes

The impact of healthcare inequality on LGBT partnerships is huge. Currently, same-sex partners are excluded from federal health program benefits, and companies outside of states allowing gay marriage are not specifically required to provide benefits to same-sex partners, even if the couple was officially married in another state.

Despite inadequate legislation, more and more private companies are choosing to offer coverage to these couples in an effort to recruit and retain qualified employees. Under DOMA, however, healthcare premiums for same-sex partners are treated as taxable income and therefore assign a higher tax burden to homosexual couples, irregardless of any private effort to mitigate this inequality.

For me, the most striking statistic in this article is that according to one study of California, same-sex couples were more than twice as likely to be uninsured as compared to married heterosexual pairs. Healthcare inequality has a significant impact on the quality and price of healthcare access for same-sex couples, but hopefully this will be one of the major areas impacted and one of the major gains from the overturning of DOMA.

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