New York insurers, health maintenance organizations and employee benefit plans should handle consumers who have married same-sex partners out-of-state the same way they handle other married consumers.
The New York State Insurance Department discusses recognition of same-sex partner marriages performed legally in other jurisdictions in Circular Letter Number 27 (2008).
New York state does not have a law permitting individuals to marry other individuals of the same sex in New York.
But department officials note in the circular letter that a state appeals court held in Martinez vs. Monroe Community College in February that a resident who married a partner of the same sex in Canada was entitled to have her marriage recognized in New York “as a matter of comity.”
“Shortly thereafter, the insurance department received inquiries from both consumers and industry seeking guidance as to how insurance companies…should treat same-sex couples in marriages legally performed outside the state of New York,” officials write in the circular letter.
In May, New York’s highest court refused to hear an appeal of the February decision, officials write.