offer employees the option of healthcare coverage for domestic partners you are
not alone. More than 35% percent of
percent of Fortune 500 companies allow their workers to choose healthcare
benefits that cover domestic partners.
have increasingly included domestic partner eligibility there is no federal
requirement to offer continuation of benefits when coverage ends. COBRA
legislation mandates that employers offer plan options to covered employees,
their spouses and covered dependent children when a qualifying event occurs.
Qualifying events include termination of employment, loss coverage due to a
change in status, death of the employee and divorce.
may choose to offer the option of continuing domestic partner benefits. Check
with the benefits provider before you do, they don’t have to extend coverage
that is not required by COBRA. As with any other benefit decision it’s
important to be consistent. Don’t decide to extend the option to one laid off
manager and not another.
partners are not eligible for the 65% federal subsidy included as part of this
year’s economic stimulus package. The ARRA subsidy is only available to federally
eligible COBRA participants, former employees their spouse and dependent
children. So if you offer continuation of domestic partner benefits you will
have to figure out an entirely different premium rate, or multiple rates based
upon the choices made by the terminated or laid off employee.
Add this complication to the list of reasons to outsource COBRA administration!