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Changes to Federal Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses Announced

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Changes to Federal Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses Announced

Annuitants have until August 26, 2013 to make immediate changes.

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the portion of the 1996 Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), P.L. 104-199, that prohibited the Federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages for purposes of any Federal law. Now, spouses and children of legal same-sex marriages are entitled to the same Federal employee benefits enjoyed by spouses and children of opposite-sex marriages.

Currently, the District of Columbia and 13 states recognize same-sex marriages. The District of Columbia also recognizes registered domestic partners for certain District employee benefits, but the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling does not extend to domestic partnerships or civil unions.

Below is information about making immediate changes to your Federal health and life insurance benefits, and your Federal dental and vision and long-term care insurance benefits. District law already extends similar District benefits to same-sex spouses.

DCRB will continue to post updates as answers become available to questions related to the effect of this ruling on your pension benefits.

The following Federal health and welfare benefits have been extended to same-sex spouses and their eligible family members. Annuitants have until August 26, 2013 to make immediate changes.

Health Insurance (FEHB): All legally married same-sex spouses will be eligible family members under a Self and Family enrollment. In addition, the children of same-sex marriages will be treated just as those of opposite-sex marriages and will be eligible family members according to the same eligibility guidelines. This includes coverage for children of same-sex spouses as stepchildren. Enrollees will continue to be eligible to make changes to their coverage options during Open Season later this year. For those annuitants who already have a Self and Family insurance plan, coverage for their same-sex spouse will begin immediately upon their notifying their FEHB carrier there is a newly eligible family member.  For annuitants changing from Self Only to Self and Family, benefits will be effective on the first day of the first pay period after the enrollment request is received by DCRB. Please update your elections using SF 2809 available on DCRB’s website. Your completed election form may be e-mailed to dcrb.benefits@dc.gov, faxed to 202-566-5001, or mailed to the address below.

Life Insurance (FEGLI): All legally married same-sex spouses and children of legal same-sex marriages are now eligible family members under the FEGLI Program, which means annuitants may add coverage for a same-sex spouse and any newly eligible children under Option C by completing SF 2817 available on DCRB’s website. Your completed election form may be e-mailed to dcrb.benefits@dc.gov, faxed to 202-566-5001, or mailed to the address below.

Dental and Vision Insurance (FEDVIP): As with FEHB, all legally married same-sex spouses will now be eligible family members under a Self and Family enrollment or a Self Plus One enrollment. Current FEDVIP enrollees should call BENEFEDS (877-888-FEDS (3337)) directly to make the necessary enrollment changes. Current enrollees will also be able to make changes during Open Season later this year.  

Long-Term Care Insurance (FLTCIP): All legally married same-sex spouses can now apply for long-term care insurance under FLTCIP with abbreviated underwriting. Apply online at www.ltcfeds.com or call 800-582-3337.  

If you have any questions, please call DCRB Benefits Members Service at 202-343-3272 (Toll Free 866-456-3272; TTY 800-877-8339), e-mail us at dcrb.benefits@dc.gov or send mail to us at 900 7th Street, NW, Second Floor, Washington, DC 20001.