Special health care enrollment available for same-sex Ohio couples

Same-sex couples who marry are eligible for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act outside of the open enrollment periods, but they need to act within 60 days of their marriage.

COLUMBUS – The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage is having far-reaching impacts in Ohio and across the country, including triggering a special enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Trey Daly, state director with the nonprofit Enroll America, which helps people get coverage through the ACA, says marriage is among the “qualifying life events” that creates the special enrollment period.

“Now that same sex couples are able to legally marry, they can also purchase health coverage outside of the open enrollment period,” he says. “As a big part of starting their life together and making sure they have a healthy life together, they can have the health insurance that they need for their family.”

Childbirth, adoption and moving outside of a person’s coverage area also qualify as life-changing events. Daly says that couples will have 60 days from the date they marry to either get new coverage or change an existing health insurance plan.

As part of the broader message, Daly says all Ohioans can now take advantage of the health coverage available to them, as well as protections offered under the ACA – including never being denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition.

“For people who have struggled from chronic health conditions that have prevented them from accessing health coverage in the past, that can’t happen anymore,” he says. “There are no annual caps on the health insurance that is provided through the plans offered in the marketplace, and there is financial assistance in the form of tax credits.”

According the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as of three months ago, more than 10 million Americans had active health insurance through the ACA. Eighty-five percent of them are receiving an average tax credit of $272 per month to help with their premiums.