Making Health Care Coverage More Accessible and Equitable For Same-Sex Couples

Content From: Matthew Heinz, MD, Director of Provider Outreach and Director of LGBT Outreach at the U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: March 18, 20142 min read


HHS LogoOn March 14, 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services took one more step toward making health care coverage more accessible and equitable for married same-sex couples.

Already, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more than 4.2 million people have signed up for private health insurance plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Marketplace plans cover essential health benefits like emergency services, prescription drugs and mental health and substance use disorder services. And preventive services like flu shots, blood pressure screening and HIV screening are covered at no additional charge.

Moreover, all health plans sold in the Marketplace have to follow rules that make health care more accessible for everyone. You can’t be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, like HIV/AIDS or cancer, and you can’t be charged more for being a woman.

We are clarifying that, starting next year, if an insurance company offers coverage to opposite-sex spouses, it cannot choose to deny that coverage to same-sex spouses. In other words, insurance companies will not be permitted to discriminate against married same-sex couples when offering coverage. This will further enhance access to health care for all Americans, including those with same-sex spouses.

You can learn just how affordable coverage can be. Across the country, 6 out of 10 uninsured Americans can get covered for $100 per month or even less – some for a lot less. And legally married same-sex couples are treated equally for purposes of financial assistance when purchasing coverage in the Marketplace, regardless of where they live.

Security and peace-of-mind are just a click or call away. You can sign up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at or 1-800-318-2596. You can even get in-person help in your own community (just visit and punch in your zip code).

Don’t delay, sign up today at Open enrollment ends March 31st.

Read FAQs from CMS about Coverage of Same-Sex Spouses