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Non-traditional couples in Massachusetts offered USAA insurance

Affordable, reliable insurance can be difficult to acquire in Massachusetts and elsewhere and, as such, is a benefit that is worth fighting for. Widows and widowers who were in legally-recognized, same-sex relationships that have not remarried will now have the option of continuing insurance coverage from the United States Services Automobile Association. Divorced non-traditional couples that remain unmarried will also have access to the same benefits, according to the agreement.

The change is part of an agreement the USAA made with the Attorney General's office. The USAA provides insurance to members of the armed forces and their family members. In the past, the organization faced complaints that it ceased coverage for anyone in a same-sex relationship that ended in divorce or the death of one of the participants.

Although Massachusetts began officially recognizing gay marriage in 2004, the USAA did not update its policies to include same-sex couples for eight years afterwards. Now, under the terms of the agreement, the USAA will provide benefits to the people whose requests were denied previously. The company will also pay a fine.

In a statement released recently, the USAA claims the agreement is not a change from its regular practices. The company says it has offered benefits to non-traditional couples for the past two years. USAA asserts this includes both surviving spouses and divorcees -- as long as they have not remarried.

This agreement is one example of the difficulties non-traditional couples may face. Divorce or death of one of the partners only complicates matters. Having a clear understanding of the legalities involved is vital in determining the best way to proceed. Moreover, to the extent possible, these and similar issues are best discussed and planned for during any divorce proceedings.

Source: Boston Business Journal, USAA agrees to offer insurance coverage for spouses of deceased gay members, Matthew L. Brown, Jan. 3, 2014

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