The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced April 3 that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will process requests for same-sex couples who are married and want to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B. Some same-sex couples who were unable to register during the open enrollment period last fall due to the inability to process requests will see a reduction in late enrollment penalties
"Today's announcement helps to clarify the effects of the Supreme Court's decision and to ensure that all married couples are treated equally under the law," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. "We are working together with SSA to process these requests in a timely manner to ensure all beneficiaries, regardless of sexual orientation, are treated fairly under the law."
The Supreme Court ruled in June 2013 that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. As a result, SSA must recognized same-sex marriages when it comes to determining eligibility and entitlement for the program, according to HHS.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a statement encouraging those who are in, or are a surviving spouse of a same-sex marriage to apply for Medicare to determine whether or not they are eligible to receive benefits.