Benefits Impact of Same-Sex Marriage Recognition in the Commonwealth
The Commonwealth of Virginia’s benefits programs for state employees were written with the stipulation that in order for spouses to be eligible the marriages must be recognized as legal in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth of Virginia began recognizing same-sex marriages on October 6, 2014. From that date forward, the eligibility for spouse benefits in the Commonwealth’s employee benefits programs was expanded to include same-sex spouses. The processes and documentation requirements for same-sex spouses are the same as for opposite-sex spouses.
- An eligible faculty member or classified employee may add a new spouse to health coverage during the first 60 calendar days of marriage. For existing out-of-state same-sex marriages, the first 60 days of marriage in the Commonwealth began on October 6, 2014 when the marriage was recognized. Certain flexible spending changes are also allowed during the first 60 days of marriage or marriage recognition. For information about allowable changes due to marriage see the state health plan fact sheet. Proof of marriage is required, as described in the eligibility rules.
- Same-sex spouses can now be covered under the Optional Group Life Insurance program available to faculty members and classified staff. Spouses qualify for guaranteed issue coverage (half the participating employee’s salary) in the Optional Group Life Insurance program with no medical approval if enrolled within the first 31 calendar days of marriage. Medical approval is required for all other levels of spouse coverage or enrollment after the first 31 days of marriage (or the first 31 days of marriage recognition in the Commonwealth).
- Same-sex spouses can now be covered under the Voluntary Long Term Care Insurance program available to faculty members, classified staff, and adjunct faculty who regularly work more than 20 hours per week. Medical approval is always required for spouses, except when enrolled during the employee’s first 60 calendar days of eligible employment. To review program information and to apply, visit www.genworth.com/cov and enter Virginia Commonwealth University as the employer.
A new, or newly-recognized, marriage is a milestone event that’s also a good time to review beneficiary designations for life insurance and retirement accounts, as well as any authorizations on file to allow health plans or retirement providers to share information with other parties.
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