We’re pleased to report that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is now offering same sex domestic partner coverage on individual health insurance policies in Colorado. Many large group plans have been offering coverage for same sex domestic partners for a while now, but this hasn’t been the case in the individual health insurance market.
Granted, it’s not as much of an issue with individual health insurance. Unlike a group plan, where policies are guaranteed issue, each applicant on an individual health insurance policy is underwritten separately. And with most health insurance companies, including Anthem, the total premium for a couple is the same as the sum of their premiums if they were to have two separate policies.
That said, the provision to allow same sex domestic partners to apply for an Anthem policy together will add a measure of equality and convenience: only one application (with both partners listed) and only one premium to pay each month. And for couples and families who are interested in getting an HSA, there is a tangible financial benefit. With an HSA, the deductible is per-family, rather than per-person. To give an example, Jay and I and our son have a $5,000 deductible HSA qualified health insurance policy. That means that the maximum deductible we would have to meet in a year is $5,000 for all three of us together. If Jay and I were not allowed to be on the same policy, we would have a higher maximum out of pocket exposure. One of us could have the $5,000 deductible together with our son, and the other would have to get a separate policy, with an additional deductible. We would still be limited by the IRS rule that allows us to contribute up to $5,950 to an HSA for our family, but we would have to have two health insurance policies – and two deductibles.
We’re glad that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has taken this step, and hopeful that other health insurance companies in the individual market in Colorado will follow suit.