Blue Cross offers coverage for same-sex partners

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, the state's largest health insurer, will begin offering coverage for same-sex couples in July. Five different plans will be offered, including a dental plan, NBC10 News reports.

The insurer said it will allow same-sex partners who are not eligible for coverage through their own employer to be added during open enrollment, on the policy's anniversary date, or upon the occurrence of a qualifying event like loss of coverage, reports the Providence Journal.

Rhode Island residents who are legally married in another state, have a legally recognized civil union in another state or have registered domestic partnership also may add their partners to their health plan. Once the domestic partner is added, dependent children also become eligible for coverage.

"Our corporate vision is to provide healthcare accessibility for all Rhode Islanders and this was our way offering and extending that coverage for domestic partners," Jim Gallagher of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island told NBC10 News.

Interested partners need to meet certain requirements. "You need to qualify for three things which is you are a domestic partner of the same sex, you are living together for over a year and you are demonstrating financial interdependence," Gallagher said.

Although the announcement comes just days after the Rhode Island House of Representatives approved a bill that would legalize same-sex civil unions, Gallagher said the new Blue Cross policy is not related.

To learn more:
- check out the Providence Journal story
- see the WPRI article
- read the NBC10 News article

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