Mortgage

Cherry Creek Mortgage to provide benefits to same-sex couples after gay couple sues lender

Former employee was denied health insurance under spousal plan

Cherry Creek Mortgage, the largest mortgage lender in Colorado, will begin offering health benefits to same-sex couples after one of the company’s former employees and her wife sued the lender for denying them health insurance coverage.

The couple’s lawsuit made headlines earlier this month, including in the Los Angeles Times, which provides some background on the suit:

Judith Dominguez, 59, began working as a loan originator for Colorado-based Cherry Creek Mortgage at a branch office in Diamond Bar in 2016 and enrolled herself and her wife, Patricia Martinez, 55, in the UnitedHealthcare plan offered by the company. The couple had been covered for most of the year when, in November, Dominguez submitted her annual re-enrollment “employee + spouse” forms.

The company told Dominguez it would not allow the women to re-enroll in a spousal plan “because Cherry Creek covers ‘spouses who are in a legal union between one man and one woman,’” according to the lawsuit, which the couple filed Thursday in federal court in downtown Los Angeles.

The couple’s lawsuit also alleged that Cherry Creek retroactively canceled their insurance, a significant issue because Martinez suffered a pair of heart attacks in 2015 and needs regular check-ups.

According to the Los Angeles Times article, the couple was hit with $40,000 in medical bills after Cherry Creek dropped their insurance coverage.

In the lawsuit, the couple claims that Cherry Creek denied their coverage because the company is “Christian-based” and believes its employees should not marry a person of the same sex.

Well, that was last week. Now, the company is changing its tune.

In a release sent out late Thursday evening, Cherry Creek said that it reevaluated its policies and will now cover same-sex couples.

“Cherry Creek Mortgage Company has always, and will always support its employees and their families. Cherry Creek Mortgage believes it was at all times acting within its legal and business rights,” the company said in its statement.

“Cherry Creek Mortgage has taken this as an opportunity to reevaluate and change its health care policy,” the company continued. “Going forward, it will cover same sex spouses in its health plan effective immediately. The company believes it is consistent with its values, and in the best interest of its employees and community.”

According to information provided in the release, Cherry Creek currently has approximately 950 employees in more than 70 branch offices in 14 states, all of whom will now be eligible for health benefits, no matter who they’re married to.

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