Married Same-Sex Couples Can Now Apply for Medicare

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com April 03 2014 4:31 PM ET

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has updated Medicare rules so that couples in same-sex marriages can apply for benefits covering hospital stays and physician care.

The new rules “help to clarify” the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision last year striking down a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act and therefore allowing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages. HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today in a press release.

The Social Security Administration, which determines Medicare eligibility and handles enrollment, can now begin processing requests for Medicare Part A and Part B Special Enrollment Periods, and reductions in Part B and premium Part A late enrollment penalties for certain eligible people in same-sex marriages, according to the press release. Part A covers hospitalization, Part B doctors’ care under Medicare, a health insurance program for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Find out more about the application process here.