Same-Sex Marriages: 3 Questions for Employers To Know about their Benefit Plans

Posted on 06-26-2014 by
Tags: Family Law , Trending News & Topics , Affordable Care Act , Healthcare , Employment Law

In light of The Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor v. United States – which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) “opposite sex” requirement for “marriage” and “spouse” –significant implications have been raised for employers and their employee benefit plans.

Recently, LexisNexis® sponsored a webinar where a panel of experts discussed the Windsor decision, as well as retroactive applications of the Windsor decision and options for employers going forward. During the webinar, 3 key questions arose about the implications of being a “spouse” under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Here is what the members of the panel had to say: 

1. A Same-Sex Spouse. A participant’s same-sex spouse must be treated as a “spouse” for the purpose of all retirement plan protections: Pre-retirement survivor annuities, spousal consent requirements, automatic beneficiary designations, minimum required distributions, rollover rights, hardship withdrawals, rights as an alternate payee under a qualified domestic relations order. 

2. Benefits Requirement. Nothing in the law requires an employer to provide any benefits and under the ACA the failure by a “large employer” to provide group health care results in a potential penalty. 

3. Employer Group-Health Care. Nothing in the ACA requires an employer to provide group health care to an employee’s spouse (under same sex or opposite sex) – even in 2015 under the employer mandate.  

If you would like more about this topic, access the on-demand webinar Same-Sex Marriages: How Recent Developments Impact Employers.

* Webinar Presenters: Catherine Walters, Saul Ewing LLP; Sarah Lockwood Church, Saul Ewing LLP; and Lori Clary, Employment Counsel, Reed Elsevier Inc. 

Your comment has been posted.   Close
Thank you, your comment requires moderation so it may take a while to appear.   Close