benefits

The Florida Blue health insurance company is hiring 200 people for its Jacksonville customer-service department.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

The federal government has acknowledged that it wrongly declared more than 100 veterans dead and suspended their benefit payments, and says it is changing its policy of confirming deaths.

Billy Doyle Walker loved working in the sky. He used to say he could see forever, perched high up communications towers as he applied fresh paint.

Three years ago, working halfway up a 300-foot steel tower at the LBJ Ranch, the panoramic view included the rolling green hills and meadows of the Texas Hill Country. The tower was used by former President Lyndon B. Johnson to communicate with the White House.

Same-sex couples have been able to marry in Florida since Jan. 6, 2015. On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide. What are the impacts of this ruling on Florida’s same-sex couples? And what questions are they asking as they consider tying the knot?

Alabama’s largest insurer now offers spousal coverage to legally married gay couples in order to comply with a federal rule that insurance companies must treat married couples the same regardless of sexual orientation.

A spokeswoman for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama said the company began offering same-sex spousal coverage for underwritten plans in early 2014, “in response to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ regulations that prohibit health insurers from discriminating in health plan coverage on the basis of sexual orientation.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling that ends the Defense of Marriage Act means that same-sex married couples will soon be subject to hundreds of federal laws and benefits, but as the New York Times reports, that’s only in states that allow same-sex marriage.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

After backlash erupted when the Department of Veterans Affairs made it tougher to navigate through red tape to get benefits, the agency said it would stop enforcing that rule. But a federal judge says the VA has continued to unfairly deny claims for medical care and other services, and has threatened action against the agency if it doesn’t change its practices, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.