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New from the N.C. State Health Plan website’s “newsroom”:

Eligibility Update Regarding Friday’s Ruling on Same Sex Marriages

A federal court has overturned North Carolina’s law regarding same gender marriage, recognizing same sex marriages as legal in North Carolina. This ruling now makes same sex spouses of State Health Plan members eligible for State Health Plan coverage.

This ruling is considered a qualifying life event and eligible spouses will have 30 days to add their spouse. A marriage certificate will be necessary to verify the spouse is an eligible member. The effective date of coverage will be November 1, 2014.

Beyond this initial 30 days, marriage is a qualifying life event and members will have 30 days to add a spouse to their health plan coverage.

Please see your Health Benefits Representative for assistance in enrolling an eligible spouse.

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Jack WalkerAccording to the State Health Plan website Jack W. Walker, PhD, “previously served as executive administrator from November 1999 to March 2005″. According to the NC Secretary of State’s Office, Jack W. Walker was also the President of “Benefit Plans of America, Inc.” a North Carolina Corporation, from September 1999 through December 2001.

Little is known about the NC corporation “Benefit Plans of America, Inc.” Walker’s wife Janice was a Director and Secretary/Treasurer. An annual report was filed April 2000. Another filed February 2001 was rejected. Articles of dissolution were filed January 2002. The firm is not listed in Walker’s online biography. By unfortunate coincidence another firm of the same name was operating in North Carolina during the same time period.

“Benefit Plans of America, Inc.” a Mississippi not for profit corporation was providing unlicensed dental insurance plans in North Carolina and was the subject of complaints to the NC Department of Insurance. It had used the name “Benefit Plans of America, Inc.” since June 1995 and in February 2004 was issued a Cease and Desist letter by the NC Department of Insurance.

There is no reason to believe that there is any connection between “Benefit Plans of America, Inc.” a North Carolina Corporation and “Benefit Plans of America, Inc.” a Mississippi not for profit corporation. The striking similarity of the names could lead a reasonable person to confuse them.

It is not unreasonable to ask why Walker maintained this corporation while serving as executive administrator of the State Health Plan. It is not unreasonable to ask why someone with responsibility for validating and reimbursing millions in State health care benefits could be oblivious to a dubious health benefits corporation with a name identical to his personal corporation.