Medicare Advantage plans must offer equal coverage for same-sex couples

Insurers selling Medicare Advantage plans must provide equal coverage to same-sex couples receiving nursing home care, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services clarified Thursday. In its first guidance since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled part of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, HHS dropped restrictions preventing same-sex married couples from being able to choose the same nursing home where their partner lives. "Today, Medicare is ensuring that all beneficiaries will have equal access to coverage in a nursing home where their spouse lives, regardless of their sexual orientation," Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a statement. "Prior to this, a beneficiary in a same-sex marriage enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan did not have equal access to such coverage and, as a result, could have faced time away from his or her spouse or higher costs because of the way that marriage was defined for this purpose." Statement

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