Arkansas insurance company to allow same sex family plans

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- A recent decision by one of the largest insurance providers in Arkansas will allow gay and lesbian couples to receive a family insurance plan.

Even though gay marriage is not legal in our state, one insurance company will recognize outside marriages on group plans.

Under a recommendation by the U.S. Department of Labor, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Arkansas will begin a special 30-day enrollment for gay couples who are legally married in another state.

Blue Cross tells Channel Seven it will allow legally married gay couples to receive family insurance under group plans only.

A measure that doesn't please everyone.

"They're not doing anything illegal, but it does go against the spirit of what the people of Arkansas seem to believe on this issue," said Jerry Cox.

Cox is the executive director of the Arkansas Family Council, referring to a 2004 vote when the majority of Arkansans decided to make gay marriage illegal.

With the private option now at the forefront of Arkansas politics, all Arkansans may soon have their pick of insurance options.

Thursday the Arkansas Insurance Commission said since all of its policies are individually based, that Blue Cross' family group plan would not fall under the insurance marketplace.

Cox still has his concerns about what an insurance company's decision could open the door for in the future.

"We ask, is that going to somehow bleed over into Medicaid insurance, that's being paid for with our public tax dollars? Might we someday end up in a situation where you have public tax dollars being used to pay for insurance for same sex couples in a state where gay marriage is not recognized?" Cox said.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Arkansas declined to speak on camera, while the American Civil Liberties Union did not return our calls about this story.

Enrollment will begin on March 1 and last for 30 days.