Benefits for Children of Same-Sex Domestic Partners

As a result of a Supreme Court decision issued in June that allows same-sex couples to marry in all states, OPM notes that agencies are no longer allowed to add children of same-sex domestic partners to FEHB enrollments.

The Office of Personnel Mangement (OPM) has announced changes for benefits for children of same-sex domestic partners.

Starting in January 2014, OPM extended coverage under the federal employee health benefits program (FEHB) and Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) enrollments to children of same-sex domestic partners of federal employees and annuitants who would marry their partners but lived in states that did not allow same-sex couples to marry (“stepchildren”).

Based on the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, published June 26, 2015, all states are now required to allow same-sex couples to marry. Because all states now allow same-sex marriage, OPM is removing the list of states that allow same-sex marriage from its website.

The result is that agencies are no longer allowed to add children of same-sex domestic partners to FEHB enrollments as no new children are eligible.

Stepchildren that are already covered under an enrollment for plan year 2015, based on a domestic partner certification, remain eligible family members until the end of the plan year. For plan year 2016 and beyond, couples must be married in order to cover (or continue to cover) stepchildren under their FEHB and FEDVIP enrollment.

OPM’s Benefits Administration Letter of October 5, 2015 outlines procedures for termination of coverage where a child of a same-sex domestic partner is not a tax dependent.

BAL on FEHB and FEDVIP Benefits for Children of Same-sex Domestic Partners After Obergefell v. Hodges

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47