CalPERS extends health benefit enrollment for same-sex couples married in 2008

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A special enrollment period started last week for same-sex married couples to sign up their spouses and children for health benefits with the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

The special enrollment is open only to those couples who were legally married before parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act was repealed by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling June 26. Couples usually have 60 days to file after marriage, but the special enrollment period will allow same-sex couples who were married as far back as 2008 to sign up their spouses and children, said Amy Norris, a spokeswoman for CalPERS.

Same-sex couples married outside California before the Supreme Court ruling also are eligible.

“Some same-sex married couples chose not to enroll a dependent because of the implications of DOMA,” Norris said. “Since the ruling, we're giving them a chance to change their minds and get health benefits right away.”

The special enrollment period is open until Dec. 31. For California public employees who want to take advantage of the program, information is available on the CalPERS website under “DOMA one-time enrollment.” A copy of a valid marriage certificate is necessary to fill out the form. Active employees can submit the form with their employers, and retirees can submit it directly to CalPERS.

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