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Blue Cross Drops Gay Families


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Blue Cross Drops Gay Families

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: September 15, 2005 9:00 pm ET

(Helena, Montana) Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana will no longer provide coverage on some policies for domestic partners.

Blue Cross is the biggest health insurer in the state, with a quarter of a million members. The decision affects people who work for companies insured in its small-group coverage - about 10,000 to 20,000 people. Small-group policies cover groups of two to 50 employees.

Larger groups have more flexibility to choose their range of benefits and can define who's covered, including domestic partners of employees, a company spokesperson told the Billings Gazette.

Gay-rights leaders accuse Blue Cross of "queer baiting" and "blatant discrimination". The company says it based its decision on Montana Supreme Court ruling that defines dependents and affects both opposite-sex and same-sex unmarried couples.

Last December in a case involving an employee of the Montana University System the court ruled that he state cannot discriminate between same-sex couples and heterosexual, unmarried couples in health insurance benefits. (story)

In a letter to small groups Blue Cross said that because of the court ruling, it would no longer extend coverage to any unmarried domestic partner of a covered employee - gay or straight.

But, LGBT civil rights advocates see it as an excuse to discriminate and are calling on supporters to cancel their health coverage with Blue Cross. Kaufmann and Karl Olson, director of PRIDE, the state's leading gay organization, said other insurers have not taken the same action.

©365Gay.com 2005


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