Washington State Requires Insurance Parity for Gay Spouses - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington State Requires Insurance Parity for Gay Spouses

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OLYMPIA, WA - Washington state officials are reminding companies in the state that health benefits must be provided to same-sex spouses if they are provided to heterosexual spouses.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler and Human Rights Commission Executive Director Sharon Ortiz on Thursday released a joint letter to the state's employers, insurance companies and benefit plan administrators regarding health care benefits for same-sex married couples.
Officials said they released the letter to provide clarity on state laws following a recent investigation by Ferguson's office of O'Reilly Automotive Inc. that resulted in the company's agreement to extend health benefits to same-sex spouses.
Washington state voters approved same-sex marriage in 2012, and the law took effect that year.  Protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation were codified by the Legislature in 2006.