Health Benefits To Be Extended to Children of Gay Federal Employees

The Obama administration moved to expand a key provision of the Affordable Care Act to the children of same-sex couples today.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Obama 500w.jpgA new rule proposed to the health care law that was upheld by the Supreme Court in June would extend health coverage to the children of federal employees’ same-sex partners.

The proposal was published by the Office of Personnel Management and would allow federal employees’ children up to the age of 26 to receive federal health benefits regardless of their legal relationship to the covered parent. The new rule would also include dental and vision insurance.

The announcement comes more than three years after the Obama administration submitted a memorandum to the Office of Personnel Management asking them to extend benefits to the children of same-sex partners. According to the rule proposal, a presidential memorandum was submitted on June 17, 2009, and again June 2, 2010, requesting the Federal Employees Health Benefits program and the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance program be expanded.

According to documents, the Personnel Management Office was able to extend coverage after determining that the definition of “step child” could be interpreted to include the legal child of a gay federal employee’s partner.

In a statement, Family Equality Council praised the proposal as a victory for the more than one million LGBT parents they represent.

“Most of the two million children raised by LGBT parents live in states where their parents cannot marry, cannot secure legal ties to their own kids and cannot get their children covered under a health insurance plan,” said Emily Hecht-McGowan, Family Equality Council Public Policy Director. “This rule change means that federal workers can now be assured that a high fever, broken arm or debilitating illness won’t jeopardize their child’s health or their family’s finances.”

Justin Snow is Metro Weekly's political editor and White House correspondent. He can be reached at jsnow@metroweekly.com.

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