The State of Maryland Employee and Retiree Health and Welfare Benefits Program (Program) will be immediately updated to include same-sex spouses as eligible dependents under the Program. Those individuals who already possess a valid marriage certificate from a jurisdiction that authorizes such unions, may complete an enrollment form to cover the spouse for a July 1, 2010 effective date. The form must be received by the Employee Benefits Division by close of business on June 2, 2010.
Verification documentation will be collected via the post-Open Enrollment Dependent Verification Process. Required documentation will include a copy of the marriage certificate along with the newly developed Spouse Tax Affidavit. This new affidavit will apply to ALL spouses, not just same sex spouses and will be used to determine if coverage for the spouse is subject to imputed income. Same sex spouses with a valid marriage certificate will not be required to complete the Domestic Partner Affidavit nor will they be required to submit proof of common residence and financial interdependency. Domestic Partner documentation is not changing; we are simply adding a new category of dependent for same-sex spouses.
Following Open Enrollment, as individuals marry their same sex partners, they can add the spouse under the usual qualified family status change process (i.e. submit the enrollment form, spouse tax affidavit and valid marriage certificate within 60 days of the marriage).
Please note that unless the same-sex spouse qualifies as a tax dependent as determined by the IRS, imputed income will still apply to the portion of the State subsidy attributable to the same-sex spouse’s coverage in the same manner it applies for domestic partners. For a same-sex spouse to be entitled to federal pre-tax/tax-free benefits coverage as a dependent, the individual must meet the following requirements:
1) The individual does not meet the “qualifying child” tests in relation to the employee/retiree or anyone else;
2) The individual must live with the employee/retiree all year as a member of the employee’s/retiree’s household (and the relationship must not violate local law); and
3) The employee/retiree must provide more than half of the individual’s support for the year.
Please note that benefit statements generated following the enrollment of your same-sex spouse will show the same-sex spouse as a domestic partner because we are offering this opportunity while updating processes and systems in the background. We will REISSUE benefit statements that reflect spouse instead of domestic partner once the programming has been completed and tested. We anticipate this to be sometime in July. We appreciate your patience as we work to make this benefit available as quickly as possible.
Employees with questions may contact the Employee Benefits Division at EBDMail@dbm.state.md.us or by calling 410-767-4775 or 1-800-307-8283.