Same-sex couple feels ripped-off by Affordable Care Act

A Moore County couple claims Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina canceled their coverage over same-sex marriage.
January 14, 2014 8:24:12 PM PST
A potential legal battle is brewing over same-sex marriage benefits.

A Moore County couple claims Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina canceled their coverage because the state doesn't 'recognize' same-sex marriage.

Thomas Hafke and Chad Higby feel that the Affordable Care Act is a rip-off.

"They know we are married," said Hafke. "The company policy doesn't accept that."

The couple has been together 11 years. They were married in Washington, D.C. last October and signed up for with the state insurance exchange for family benefits and paid the premium. Then on Monday, their Affordable Care Act cards came in the mail. A few hours later, they got a phone call telling them the cards were no good.

"It was the head of customer service for Blue Cross Blue Shield," said Hafke. "She asked me if I had a same-sex spouse. I said 'Yes,' and she was like, 'Sorry, we are going to have to cancel your policy!'"

ABC11 checked several family law firms' websites on state marriage laws. North Carolina doesn't recognize same sex marriages, even if the ceremony is performed in a state that does.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield national website says it offers coverage for domestic partners only in states where it is legal. However, Hafke and Higby's case isn't totally hopeless.

In an email statement, a Blue Cross spokesman says the company allows large companies to decide whether to offer its employees coverage for same-sex domestic partners. The insurance company is currently implementing technical changes that would allow them to offer coverage to small groups and individual customers by 2015.

It's good news for the couple, but not good enough for them this year. They will have to file separately for individual health coverage

"Angry, frustrated. You don't know who to talk to," said Hafke. "You just feel stuck, like to feel discriminated against. You are just cut out."

See It On TV | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | Send us photos
Follow @abc11 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook


Load Comments