Archives: KHI News Service

On January 1, 2017, the KHI News Service became part of KCUR public radio’s new initiative, the Kansas News Service. The Kansas News Service will continue to cover health policy news and broaden its scope to include education and politics. All stories produced by the former KHI News Service are archived here. Stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to

Kansas opens state employee health insurance to same-sex spouses

By Stephen Koranda | July 07, 2015

The state of Kansas is changing its stance on health insurance benefits for same-sex spouses of state employees.

Previously, members of Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration had declined to change state policies, saying they were still studying the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.

Sara Belfry is a spokesperson with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which manages state employee health insurance.

“After legal review of the Supreme Court decision, we have started accepting applications for same-sex spouses of state employees to be eligible for the state employee health plan,” she said Tuesday.

Belfry said there’s a special one-month open enrollment period for same-sex spouses to apply for health benefits. She said state officials continue to study changes in other areas, such as Medicaid health care benefits.

Later Tuesday, Brownback issued an executive order on religious liberty. It prohibits state government from taking discriminatory action against any “individual clergy or religious leader” or “religious organization” that chooses not to participate in a same-sex marriage.