WPS Health Insurance: Special enrollment for same-sex couples


October 17, 2014

Contact: Ellen Foley

WPS, Madison, Wis.

(608) 226-8089

ellen.f[email protected]


WPS Health Insurance today issued a statement to agents who sell insurance for WPS or Arise Health Plan.

On Oct. 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of the Wolf v. Walker case. The Wolf v. Walker case ruled unconstitutional the provision in the Wisconsin Constitution that recognizes only opposite-sex marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to deny review of the case legalized same-sex marriage in Wisconsin.

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, effective Oct. 6, 2014, each spouse in a same-sex marriage is eligible to enroll the other as a dependent spouse on his/her health insurance plan, subject to the terms of the enrollee’s certificate of coverage. Generally, spouses must apply at initial enrollment or within 31 days following the date of marriage with an effective date specified in the contract.

WPS Health Insurance and Arise Health Plan will offer a one-time special enrollment period on their insured plans in December 2014 for same-sex spouses who are not eligible to enroll under the terms of the enrollee’s certificate of coverage because the marriage occurred more than 31 days ago. Same-sex couples are eligible for the special enrollment period whether the marriage occurred in Wisconsin in June 2014 or in another state where same-sex marriage was legal on the date of marriage. Same-sex spouses wishing to enroll during the special enrollment period must apply between Dec. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2014, with coverage effective on Jan. 1, 2015.

To enroll same-sex couples during the special enrollment period, agents will need to use a paper application, as this option is not available via online enrollment. Along with the paper special enrollment application, agents will need to submit a copy of the applicant’s marriage certificate.

For self-funded groups, agents will need to contact group leaders to determine how each group will handle same-sex enrollment.