Health Coverage For Domestic Partners
As an employer, are you required to offer health coverage to an employee’s domestic partner? Check out the Q&A below for more information.
Our company offers group health coverage to employees and their spouses (and children). Does that mean we also have to extend coverage to domestic partners?
Domestic partners are unmarried couples. Employers may choose to extend eligibility to domestic partners, but it is not required unless mandated by a state’s insurance law. Most states have no requirements while others, such as New Jersey, merely require group health carriers to offer the employer the option of including domestic partners as dependents. California, on the other hand, has the strictest requirement: any group policy that covers spouses must extend eligibility to “registered domestic partners (RDPs).”
Employers that purchase group health insurance receive specific information from the carrier about any applicable state insurance laws. Self-funded (uninsured) plans are not affected since they are exempt from state insurance mandates.
Note: Public-sector employers, such as cities, counties, and public schools and universities, and private-sector employers that contract with public agencies, may be subject to additional requirements under local laws. Specific information typically is provided to the parties by the government agency.