BlueCross To Give Benefits To Married Gays

Another domino falls in New York.

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York will begin allowing spousal health care benefits to validly married gay and lesbian couples, the New York Civil Liberties Union announced today. The news comes less than three weeks after the NYCLU filed a lawsuit against the company on behalf of a Buffalo lesbian couple that said it was denied such health benefits. Jeanne Kornowicz, a school psychologist in the Cheektowaga Central Schools, and her partner, Joy Higgins, have been together for a decade, and they were married legally in Canada two years ago. The lawsuit, filed July 9 in State Supreme Court in Buffalo, cited the NYCLU’s landmark legal victory in a Monroe County case, in which an appeals court unanimously ruled that New York State must recognize the valid out-of-state marriages of lesbian and gay couples. “We applaud BlueCross & BlueShield of Western New York for following the law and treating all married couples the same,” Donna Lieberman, NYCLU executive director, stated in a press release. “Families who were denied coverage up until this point will now be able to protect themselves with health care coverage.”

It’s unclear if this policy change applies across the state or only in the territory covered by BlueCross of Western New York. Anybody know?