Tags: Gay Marriage | Supreme Court | marry | marriage | gay | health insurance | supreme court

More Firms Tell Gay Workers to Marry to Keep Health Insurance

By    |   Wednesday, 13 May 2015 12:48 PM

More employers are telling their gay employees that if they want to keep their joint health insurance plans for their partners, then they need to get married.

Besides the upcoming Supreme Court decision, it may be another factor that may push same-sex couples to choose to marry, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.

About a third of private and public sector businesses and organizations currently offer health benefits for unmarried gay partners. But now that gay marriage is legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia, employment lawyers are saying that employers are reconsidering if they will continue to offer such coverage for gay couples if they aren't married.

"If the Supreme Court rules that suddenly there is marriage equality in 50 states, the landscape totally changes," said Todd Solomon, a Chicago attorney who specializes in employee benefits and has followed domestic partnerships closely.

In that case, Solomon said, more employers are expected to drop benefits for same-sex partners who are not married.

Companies had opted to offer health insurance to domestic partners in states where same-sex marriage was not legal. In some cases, this was an option for heterosexual couples as well.

However, this is a concern for gay rights activists, who say that it may make put gay couples at risk for discrimination by "outing" a worker since marriage certificates are public records, according to the Journal.

Mary Pat and Kathy Byrn, a gay couple in Minneapolis, were told by Kathy's employer, the University of Minnesota, that they needed to marry if they wanted to keep their insurance after gay marriage became legal in Minnesota in 2013, but they were given a 16-month warning.

"This approach seemed reasonable and fair to me," Mary Pat Byrn told the Journal. As a result, the couple married in October.

Delta Air Lines and Verizon Communications have also said that they will phase out health insurance coverage for nonmarried same-sex domestic partners in states where gay marriage is legal.

Companies such as Google, IBM, and Dow Chemical offer health insurance to gay and straight unmarried couples and will likely continue to do so, arguing that it gives them greater access to a larger pool of employees.

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More employers are telling their gay employees that if they want to keep their joint health insurance plans for their partners, then they need to get married.
marry, marriage, gay, health insurance, supreme court
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2015-48-13
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 12:48 PM
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