Obama administration orders BCBS to cover same-sex spouse

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBS) must provide health coverage for the same-sex spouse of a federal employee, according to an order from the Obama administration.

In a letter to BCBS, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) said the insurer, which provides health plans for the government, must cover Amy Cunninghis, who is married to Karen Golinksi, a federal attorney in California, reported The Washington Post.

BCBS must now "implement an expeditious enrollment of Ms. Cunninghis," wrote Shirley Patterson, assistant director of OPM's Federal Employee Insurance Operations, LifeHealthPro reported.

OPM previously said that Cunninghis wasn't eligible for health coverage because the couple is single-sexed. But OPM amended its position after a federal court in California ruled the Defense of Marriage Act "unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex married couples," the Post noted.

However, OPM specifically clarified that its decision is limited to Golinski and Cunninghis and "has no effect on enrollments requested by other same-sex spouses."

And while House Republican lawmakers are appealing the federal court decision, lawyers for Golinski and Cunninghis pledged to "pressing this case forward to ensure that other same sex couples just like them can receive same treatment," according to The Post.

To learn more:
- read the court case materials
- read the Washington Post article
- see the LifeHealthPro article