By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com January 27 2014 3:15 PM ET
Same-sex couples and their families who bought into Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurance plans in North Carolina under the Affordale Care Act have found that plans to cover them will no longer be available due to a wording glitch.
Earlier this month Blue Cross and Blue Shield canceled policies for 20 North Carolina same-sex couples who were legally married in states that recognize marriage equality, The News & Observer of Raleigh reports. The company advised those couples to reapply for insurance coverage as unmarried individuals.
The application language defines a person's spouse as someone of the opposite sex. While the state's insurance laws do not bar same-sex couples from purchasing insurance together, "Blue Cross was legally bound by the restrictive contract language in its individual plans," according to the report. Blue Cross North Carolina representatives said the application would be amended to be more inclusive of same-sex couples by 2015.
Adam Linker of the N.C. Justice Center said that the fact of the matter is, "as in so many areas of life, a loving, married couple has to pretend to be strangers because of discriminatory laws and policies."
Employees of Blue Cross, North Carolina's largest health insurance provider, receive domestic-partner benefits.