Same-Sex Couples face higher Health Costs

Reported by Anya Martin on

"Each year as the April 15 tax deadline nears, Shane Snowden is reminded how much more she pays for health coverage for her same-sex partner than her heterosexual colleagues pay for their spouses' benefits.

"While exchanging vows doesn't guarantee access to health insurance, marriage makes having it both more likely and less expensive -- if your spouse is of the opposite sex.

"Even in states where the freedom to marry is legal, employers may exclude partners from coverage. When they do provide benefits, federal tax laws mean that workers spend more to insure their same-sex domestic partner and children than their heterosexual counterparts do.

"Here's why: While the value of health benefits that employers pay on behalf of workers' spouses are excluded from employees' gross income by federal law, same-sex couples aren't extended the same tax break. That is, the value of a domestic partner's health-insurance benefit is counted as income paid to the worker."

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